Swapping the veil for casual clothing: A study of Iranian immigrant women living in Norway
(2022) Women’s Studies International Forum, 92, art. no. 102577, .
With reference to Michel Foucault’s theory of power and freedom, this article draws on narrative interviews with Iranian immigrant women living in Norway to explore how the sartorial technology in the two seemingly contrasting national contexts of Iran—a conservative Islamic society—and Norway—a liberal secular society—(re)shape the participants’ negotiations of subjectivity and freedom. The study shows that while the potential choice to not to wear the veil after migration allowed the participants to experience some freedom in relation to their clothing practices, this freedom was countered with racial experiences that pushed them to self-policing their appearance and clothes in accordance with established norms of clothing in Norway. As such, the study stresses the need to move beyond the reductive dichotomy between Islam and secularism and highlights how specific normative and semiotic definitions differently operate to regulate and discipline women’s bodies and clothing practices. © 2022 The Author
Ethical self-formation; Freedom; Iran; Norway; Sartorial technology; Sexuality; Veiling