Poster Title

A Comparative Study of How White-Identifying Populations View Muslims in the US and UK

Presenter Information

Ashley GilliamFollow

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Institution

Western Kentucky University

KY House District #

N/a; I vote in Tn, but go to school at WKU, which would be CD 2

KY Senate District #

N/a; I vote in TN, but go to school at WKU, which would be CD 2

Department

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Abstract

In recent years, Western society has been concerned with a number of complex, interwoven concepts and events, such as immigration, assimilation, and terrorism. As a result, populist movements have pervaded and catalyzed Western countries’ reactions. The United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) are central to this larger discussion. For example, the UK recently finalized ‘Brexit,’ the decision to leave the European Union, and the US has implemented new travel restriction policies, targeting some countries with Islam as a majority religion. Given these events and the current debates surrounding multiculturalism, my larger research question addressed how majority populations view minority groups. While several studies have illustrated how Muslims in the West form their own identities, there is little research on how Muslims are perceived as a group by majority non-Muslim populations. Therefore, this comparative research project contributes to an understanding of white-identifying populations’ perceptions of Muslims in the UK and US, using qualitative and quantitative ethnographic methodologies. Methods utilized included free lists, card sorts, and semi-structured interviews. Free listing consisted of asking participants to write down all lexical items they could recall within a delineated category. Card sorting consisted of participants organizing a set of twenty-two photographic cards of individuals of various ethnicities, religious and non-religious attire into delineated categories. Semi-structured interviewing consisted of open-ended questions within the topic area. The data for this research was collected in the UK and US during 2016-2017, and was supported by an international Faculty-Undergraduate Student Engagement (FUSE) grant, Diversity Abroad Grant (DAG), World Topper scholarship, and Honors Travel Abroad Grant through Western Kentucky University. The initial results suggest there are unconscious biases regarding Muslim populations in both countries, but there are similarities and differences in how they manifest and in what cultural attitudes or practices contribute to them.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

A Comparative Study of How White-Identifying Populations View Muslims in the US and UK

In recent years, Western society has been concerned with a number of complex, interwoven concepts and events, such as immigration, assimilation, and terrorism. As a result, populist movements have pervaded and catalyzed Western countries’ reactions. The United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) are central to this larger discussion. For example, the UK recently finalized ‘Brexit,’ the decision to leave the European Union, and the US has implemented new travel restriction policies, targeting some countries with Islam as a majority religion. Given these events and the current debates surrounding multiculturalism, my larger research question addressed how majority populations view minority groups. While several studies have illustrated how Muslims in the West form their own identities, there is little research on how Muslims are perceived as a group by majority non-Muslim populations. Therefore, this comparative research project contributes to an understanding of white-identifying populations’ perceptions of Muslims in the UK and US, using qualitative and quantitative ethnographic methodologies. Methods utilized included free lists, card sorts, and semi-structured interviews. Free listing consisted of asking participants to write down all lexical items they could recall within a delineated category. Card sorting consisted of participants organizing a set of twenty-two photographic cards of individuals of various ethnicities, religious and non-religious attire into delineated categories. Semi-structured interviewing consisted of open-ended questions within the topic area. The data for this research was collected in the UK and US during 2016-2017, and was supported by an international Faculty-Undergraduate Student Engagement (FUSE) grant, Diversity Abroad Grant (DAG), World Topper scholarship, and Honors Travel Abroad Grant through Western Kentucky University. The initial results suggest there are unconscious biases regarding Muslim populations in both countries, but there are similarities and differences in how they manifest and in what cultural attitudes or practices contribute to them.