Co kryje chusta muzułmańska? Między religią, gender a kulturą – casus francuski

Agnieszka Adamczak

What Does a Muslim Headscarf Conceal? Between Religion, Gender and Culture: the French Case

The purpose of the article is to interpret the meaning of the Muslim headscarf from the perspective of the constructivist theory of James Beckford, whose methodological assumptions were presented by the author at the beginning. The author starts with a presentation of the reasons why at the institutional level of the French state, the scarf is identified as an instrument of oppression and subjugation of women. Subsequently, the author characterizes the main stages in the evolution of Islam within the French religious landscape, beginning with attempts to fight Islam under colonial rule, up to the recognition of Muslims as a separate religious category, equal to other denominations. In confrontation with the state monopoly on the political interpretation of higab, the author presents (in a historical perspective) the spectrum of cultural and religious interpretative possibilities of the practice of covering up the body. Emphasis was laid on showing the connection between perceiving the scarf as a cultural strategy and the secularist tendencies observable within the French Islam. The author is trying to prove that the headscarf may serve as an instrument of the auto-reflective process of constructing both the individual and communal Muslim identity, in connection with the need to redefine one’s attitude towards religion.


In opposition to the „Islam-culture” trend, the author presents an alternative proposition of interpreting the practice of wearing headscarves which has been put forward by the women activists of the „Islam-Action” movement. According to the author, quoting religious reasons as the basis of the practice of covering up the body, points out not only to a different way of defining higab, but to a whole new program of revival of Islam, under the slogan of a struggle with its symbolic enemies. The author emphasizes the importance of shame as a category testifying to a modern character of shaping one’s identity by the women members of „Islam-Action” who have a critical attitude towards the legacy of the Western feminist trends resulting in the reification of the woman’s body or the obliteration of differences between the sexes. In the final section of the paper, the author characterizes other elements, apart from the headscarf, which testify to the specific character of the „Islam-Action” movement.

Kwartalnik "Studia Religiologica" ukazuje się w sposób ciągły on-line.

Pierwotną wersją czasopisma jest wersja elektroniczna publikowana w Internecie.