Research on university-educated Muslim women in different cultural contexts has displayed an intricate and paradoxical connection between experiences of higher education and identity mediation. A traditional model conceptualizes Muslim female university students as ‘rebels’ against their heritage religion and culture. Recent developments in the context of poststructural feminism highlight the configuration of a hybrid self-image embracing the target and heritage cultures in an additive and empowering manner. To enhance our understanding of the potential impact of higher education on identity negotiation, this study employs the notion of identity capital in an analysis of two South Asian Muslim female university students in Hong Kong over a two-year period. Participants’ life histories reveal that personal capacity to invest in identity capital (a contextually-dependent hybrid self) relies on an individual’s unique possession of various forms of capital. This study thus cautions against generalizations about Muslim women’s university experiences, and suggests that Muslim minorities as multicultural students and that their multilingual/multicultural skills, as forms of ‘intercultural capital,’ should be valued by all societal institutions. Copyright © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
CitationGao, F. (2018). Being ‘religious and cultural rebels’ or being ‘cultural hybrids’? The role of identity capital in Muslim female university students’ self-construction. Gender and Education, 30(8), 1032-1047. doi: 10.1080/09540253.2017.1296112
- Identity capital
- Intersecting multiple capitals
- Muslim women
- Hong Kong