In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, anti-Muslim discourse and sentiment has become pervasive in the West. Using a collaborative ethnographic approach, we observe how participants at a Turkish Community Center (TCC) cultivate stigma management strategies against the cultural backdrop of post-9/11 anti-Muslim stereotypes. In our analysis, we use Goffman's work on stigma and critical race theory to explore the socially embedded nature of stigmatization processes for Turkish Muslims in a local community center. Our findings reveal how aspects of Turkish culture and Islam, together with a structural context that facilitates collective stigma management, allow TCC participants to effectively manage stigma and combat anti-Muslim stereotypes. Turkish participants use the practice of 'dialogue' to prioritize secular identity(ies) through cultural education, normalize the Muslim self in conversation about religion, and embody a gendered presentation of Islam and Turkish culture. While facilitating individual and collective resilience for TCC participants in the face of stigmatization and pervasive anti-Muslim sentiment, these practices also contribute to the reproduction of broader patterns of racial, cultural, and gender inequality.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography,
Paul, C., & Becker, S. A. (2017). 'People are enemies to what they don't know' managing stigma and anti-Muslim stereotypes in a Turkish Community Center. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography,, 46 (2), 135-172. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891241615570053