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Divorce among Transnational Finnish Somalis: Gender, Religion, and Agency

Author:

Mulki Al-Sharmani

Abstract

This article focuses on divorce among Somali Muslim migrants in Helsinki, drawing on a four- year qualitative study. I examine how divorce experiences are shaped by the transnational social fields inhabited by my interlocutors through family ties and relationships navigated across multiple national contexts. I show that the break-up of marriage is enabled by gendered shifts in my interlocutors’ access to resources and scope for agency within the context of transnationally-shaped marriages, accompanied by incongruence between spouses’ marriage goals and values. I trace these shifts and their underlying discourses. I argue that gender as a marker of difference and power is experienced in fluid and mixed ways as husbands and wives have differentiated claims to resources such as education, income, legal rights, and welfare provisions. These gendered experiences are also shaped by my interlocutors’ positioning within a new religious discourse that revisits Muslim spousal roles and rights, particularly men’s privileges and practices.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/rg.10207
How to Cite: Al-Sharmani, M., (2017). Divorce among Transnational Finnish Somalis: Gender, Religion, and Agency. Religion and Gender. 7(1), pp.70–87. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/rg.10207
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Published on 13 Jun 2017.
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