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Dialogical Constructions of a Muslim Self through Life Story Telling

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that the study of religious identity construction from a biographical perspective by using the analytical concept of the 'dialogical self' allows one to investigate both the intrinsic value of religiosity to Muslims and its contextualized meanings in terms of identity politics. According to dialogical self theory, self-conceptions are produced by a dynamic interplay of so-called 'I-positions' and 'voices of the self'. By reflecting on excerpts from life story interviews with two Dutch-Moroccan Muslim women (Salima and Boushra), the chapter also argues that applying dialogical self theory to the analysis of self-narratives is a particularly productive approach to study the complexity of religious self-constructions. Quoting Salima illustrates the importance of internal and external dialogues with personal voices addressing the self, while quoting Boushra points to the accommodation of 'collective voices' in the construction of religious selves.

Keywords: Boushra; collective voices; dialogical self theory; I-positions; life story interviews; Muslims; religious identity construction; Salima



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