Empowerment and submission to God? Spanish new Muslim women’s pious agency

Itzea Goicolea Amiano


Agency has constituted a key concept within feminist studies and activism. Building on Saba Mahmood’s suggestion, this article seeks to show the pious modality of action in several Spanish new Muslim women, on the one hand, and to assess the agency of these women who conceive their freedom in the act of submission to God from a feminist standpoint, on the other. I will hold that the liberal and secular biases that the concept of agency that hegemonic feminism has naturalized need to be deconstructed, and that agency needs to be acknowledged beyond the dichotomy of patriarchal reproduction via-à-vis resistance. I will thus outline the main epistemological as well as corporal features of the pious modality of action, in which the body functions as much more than a mere sign. The conclusion will suggest that even though the framework in which the pious gender discourses are produced is indeed patriarchal, these women’s agency has an empowering dimension that leads them to reject and negotiate certain premises and situations in which gender inequalities (may) take place.


Agency; Muslims; Women converts; Feminism; Piety


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/fem.2016.28.08

Copyright (c) 2016 Itzea Goicolea Amiano

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