Visualising Young Muslims in the West
Spanning the disciplines of sociology, anthropology and visual studies, this work focuses on the visual dimensions of Muslim and non-Muslim relations in the west.
More than a decade on from 9/11, young Muslims find themselves at the centre of a visual paradox in the west. Cast as central antagonists in epic dramas of postcolonial nationhood, images of alienated young male adherents to extremist theologies and their oppressed veiled female counterparts loom large in the national psyches of numerous western democracies. These powerful images have given rise to a raft of policies and programs designed not just to monitor, contain and reform young Muslims by steering them away from undesirable ways of being, but to also constructively guide them towards idealised forms of subjecthood. Yet despite this hyper-visibility of young Muslims in the western public sphere, their own points of view are seldom incorporated into the broader picture of twenty-first century multiculture. Visualising young Muslims sets out to address this discrepancy. Patton looks at the policies, programs and broader governmental discourses that situate young Muslims as objects of a colonial visual order long after the formal end of empire, and the strategies young Muslims are adopting to deal with this positioning tackling issues. How do the young women who wear the headscarf forge a sense of belonging when the state decides to go rummaging in their wardrobes? What does youth religiosity look like when multiculturalism takes on a counter-terrorism imperative?
Highlighting the deeper problem of how the political subject is visualised in the west, Visualising young Muslims tackles issues at the heart of the way liberal democratic states fashion a picture of postcolonial nationhood.