Women, Violence and Tradition

Taking FGM and Other Practices to a Secular State

Edited by Tamsin Bradley


Examines how ethnic minority women navigate between their religious and cultural traditions and the secular state in which they live.
Is the practice of FGM on the rise in the UK and US? Why? What happens to religious and cultural traditions when they are taken from their context into a new, often secular, state? Women, Violence and Tradition is a fascinating look into the life histories of women from ethnic minority communities in the West, focusing specifically on their experiences of under-researched cultural practices.

The book gives close insight into how ethnic minority women today navigate between their religious and cultural traditions and the secular state in which they live. The volume illuminates areas of tension and difficulty when some women actively try to reform aspects of their tradition whilst remaining furiously loyal to their cultural identity.

Other examples highlight how young women are choosing to endorse traditional practices, seeing this as an important way of demonstrating the legitimacy of their religion and culture in the face of increasing hostility. This brave and original book tackles the sensitive and controversial issue of female genital mutilation, as well as surveying changing attitudes and practices around marriage and divorce. Using a cross-cultural perspective the book draws on the views of activists and community organisations who work with women to confront injustice.

Author Bio

Tamsin Bradley is Senior Lecturer and Course Leader in Social Anthropology, Department of Applied Social Sciences, London Metropolitan University.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction 
  • 1. Researching Stories 
  • 2. Somali Memories of FGM 
  • 3. Tales of Somali Marriage in the UK 
  • 4. Domestic Violence in Zimbabwe and the UK Diaspora 
  • 5. Narratives of Divorce Amongst Bangladeshi Women in England 
  • 6. Transnational Accounts of Dowry and Caste: Hindu Women Tell Their Stories 
  • 7. The Big Taboo: Stories of Pre-Marital Relationships 
  • 8. 'I Wish I Had Taken Her With Me': The Lives of Black and Minority Ethnic Women Facing Gender Based Violence 
  • Conclusion


'The chapters are engaging and personal, and result in a volume that will appeal to the general public as well as an academic audience.'
Emma Tomalin, University of Leeds

'A ground-breaking collection that at its heart deals with issues of social justice, equity and rights.'
Samia Bano, University of Reading

'Carefully organised and tightly edited, Women, Violence and Tradition shines a critical light on the narratives of women from diaspora communities in the UK, focusing specifically on their experiences of gendered violence and the challenges encountered by those who seek to foster social change.'
Aisha Gill, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, University of Roehampton


Publication Date: 22 September 2011
224 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781848139589
Hardback: 9781848139596
eBook ePub: 9781848139619
eBook PDF: 9781848139602
eBook Kindle: 9781780327341

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