In this concise and beautifully written introduction to the politics of the veil in modern societies, Christian Joppke examines why a piece of clothing could have led to such controversy. He dissects the multiple meanings of the Islamic headscarf, and explores its links with the global rise of Islam, Muslim integration, and the retreat from multiculturalism. He argues that the headscarf functions as a mirror of identity, but one in which national and liberal identities overlap, exposing the paradox that while it may be an affront to liberal values, its suppression is equally illiberal.
Veil: Mirror of Identity will illuminate, challenge and provoke readers, and will make compelling reading for scholars, students and general readers alike.
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"Joppke's Veil retrieves a topic subjected to clichéd overkill for genuine scholarly analysis. It is erudite, readable and unrivalled, a no-punches-pulled critique of the relationship between Islam, gender and liberalism. Informative, thought-provoking and powerful, it reaches new heights and is a must-read for the informed, or bemused, about Islam in the West."
Paul Statham, University of Bristol
"All of the trademark features of Joppke's style are in evidence here: a talent for linking empirical and normative questions in a sophisticated yet clear way; an ability to synthesize a wide range of literature and sharply formulate the key issues; and a willingness to challenge and indeed provoke his readers."
Rogers Brubaker, University of California
"Veil is a highly original and systematic analysis of one of the major problems which Western, especially European, societies are confronting. It is an outstanding contribution, and should be of great interest to sociologists, political scientists and historians."
S. N. Eisenstadt, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
"One of the most difficult issues for a liberal state is to consider the conflict between religious freedom and liberal values. Written with pace, authority and wit, Christian Joppke provides the reader with a deeper understanding of western Europe’s struggle with manifestations of religious identity."
Kamal Ahmed, Equality and Human Rights Commission
1 The Islamic Headscarf in Western Europe 1
2 The Pupil’s Headscarf in Republican France 27
3 The Teacher’s Headscarf in Christian–Occidental Germany 53
4 The Extreme Headscarf in Multicultural Britain 81
5 Liberalism and Muslim Integration 107