Women, Violence and Tradition

About 'Women, Violence and Tradition' –

Is the practice of FGM on the rise in the UK and US? Why? What happens to religious and cultural traditions when they are taken from their context into a new, often secular, state? Women, Violence and Tradition is a fascinating look into the life histories of women from ethnic minority communities in the West, focusing specifically on their experiences of under-researched cultural practices. The book gives close insight into how ethnic minority women today navigate between their religious and cultural traditions and the secular state in which they live. The volume illuminates areas of tension and difficulty when some women actively try to reform aspects of their tradition whilst remaining furiously loyal to their cultural identity. Other examples highlight how young women are choosing to endorse traditional practices, seeing this as an important way of demonstrating the legitimacy of their religion and culture in the face of increasing hostility. This brave and original book tackles the sensitive and controversial issue of female genital mutilation, as well as surveying changing attitudes and practices around marriage and divorce. Using a cross-cultural perspective the book draws on the views of activists and community organisations who work with women to confront injustice.

About Tamsin Bradley –

Tamsin Bradley is Senior Lecturer and Course Leader in Social Anthropology, Department of Applied Social Sciences, London Metropolitan University.

Reviews –

Women, Violence and Tradition takes a unique approach to generating its content. It has involved women who are students and/or activists in collecting and writing up the stories of BME women who have been affected by the cultural traditions and practices that are the focus of the book – from FGM to dowry within Hindu communities. Many of the contributors to this volume also have first-hand experience of the traditions and practices that they are writing about and this lends a sense of authority and insight to their writing that is often absent in purely academic studies. The volume aims to highlight how women uphold, challenge and defend aspects of these traditions and practices, which often result in violence, in the context of the 'secular' British state. It draws our attention the ways in which they are often underpinned by particular understandings of religion and culture that can make it difficult to challenge and negotiate them. The chapters are engaging and personal, and result in a volume that will appeal to the general public as well as an academic audience.' – Dr Emma Tomalin, University of Leeds

'A ground-breaking collection that at its heart deals with issues of social justice, equity and rights. Readers are given a unique opportunity to hear the life histories and stories of women as they live their lives across and as part of complex cultural, religious and social communities in Britain. This collection gives voice to women and in doing so transcends the boundaries of 'insiders versus outsiders' and 'religious versus the secular'. Instead we learn that women's lives are complex, negotiated and strategic but also that women do and can 'speak' to challenge gender violence and in doing so challenge oppressive cultural and religious practices and redefine our understandings of identity, belonging and community.' – Dr Samia Bano, University of Reading.

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