In the Name of God? Religion and Feminist Legal Theory

Authored by: Samia Bano

The Ashgate Research Companion to Feminist Legal Theory

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409418597
eBook ISBN: 9781315612973
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043423


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In this chapter, I ask how a feminist critique of current legal developments can contribute to our conceptual understanding of women’s religious subjectivity and agency, and whether this can further our understanding of how religious women in the monotheistic religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – are being framed in relation to forced marriage and debates on veiling. In doing so, I start from fairly common premises within critical theory, which insist that traditional notions of legal objectivity and legal neutrality simply do not exist, and that the operation and effects of law cannot be understood in isolation from the social, moral and political context in which law operates (Williams 1988). I draw upon one such critical perspective, feminist legal theory, to better understand how specific ideas of religious women are mediated through the law in order to produce the dialectical representation of religious women both as agents and victims of their communities.

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