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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 97; doi:10.3390/socsci6030097

Mattering Moralities: Learning Corporeal Modesty through Muslim Diasporic Clothing Practices

Technology and Society Studies, Maastricht University, Grote Gracht 90-92, 6211SZ Maastricht, The Netherlands
Received: 15 June 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding Muslim Mobilities and Gender)
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Questions of ‘coveredness’ in Islamic codes of dress, particularly as they apply to women, are often framed through the symbolic statements that they enable or disable, or through discourses on public versus private spaces. Rather than focus on these disciplining dimensions, this article explores observations about embodied practices for clothing oneself ‘modestly’, and some of the paradoxes thereof, which emerged in the context of research about diasporic mobilities of European-Moroccans in Morocco. Drawing heavily on Karen Barad and a materialist phenomenological approach to corporeality, this approach produces an understanding of how moral bodies materialize with and through clothing. By observing and following the mobilities of participants across spaces dominated by ‘Muslim’ and ‘Western’ regimes of modesty, certain dissonances of their practices in these differentiated spaces indicate ways bodies, clothing and moralities are intra-actively entangled. Proposing ethnography as a diffractive apparatus, the analysis incorporates participant reports, as well as embodied learning through ethnographic time. By approaching this ‘disciplining’ diffractively, all agents–knowledgeable bodies, malleable clothes and spatially moral gazes–are considered as intra-actively influencing each other, mattering into ‘modesty’ where ‘subjected’ bodies, as well as clothing and regimes of modesty are adapting. View Full-Text
Keywords: Barad; corporeality; shame; phenomenology; intra-action; diffraction; Islam; Morocco; ethnography; embodiment Barad; corporeality; shame; phenomenology; intra-action; diffraction; Islam; Morocco; ethnography; embodiment

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wagner, L.B. Mattering Moralities: Learning Corporeal Modesty through Muslim Diasporic Clothing Practices. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 97.

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