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Gäst i Sverige: Sanningsregimer, villkorade själv(re)presentationer och nationell tillhörighet vid moskévisningar i Stockholm
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3848-0869
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Guest in Sweden : Regimes of Truth, Conditional Self (Re)Presentations and National Belonging in the Guided Tours of a Mosque in Stockholm (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation explores the regimes of truth surrounding Muslims in Sweden. The main focus lies on the production of knowledge regarding Muslims in the context of the guided tours of a mosque in Stockholm. Special attention is given to how regimes of truth regarding Muslims inform the conversations during the visits, how they are debated in this particular arena and how that is dependent on positionality. It is a situation in which a Muslim, in the position of the guide, has an opportunity to present alternative storylines, or stories, about who Muslims are and what they do. The visitors for their part can assess, respond to and challenge those stories. In other words, the study explores who can speak with authority.

The study is based mainly on participant observations made during 14 guided tours from 2003-2006 and on interviews with guides and visitors regarding their experiences on the respective tours. Most of the visitor groups were making study visits as a part of educational training. Seven of these were in primary and secondary education and two of them at the college level. Four groups came from social clubs at a workplace or from interest groups, and one was organised by Stockholm City Museum. To frame and contextualise the tours I have furthermore used data from mass media, mainly press clippings, but also features from TV shows. Other categories have been archival data, leaflets and brochures handed out at the mosque, as well as fictional books and a mailing list for Muslims. These sources have helped me discern regimes of truth that are, and are not, articulated on the guided tours.

The central results concern the fact that the guides see the tours as a chance to alter other stories about Muslims and allow the visitors who tour the mosque to hear something that is not mediated or taught in school; however, they experience difficulties in terms of gaining credibility with regard to their presentation of alternative stories. Even when the guides talk about their private life, as is often the case, they are challenged and sometimes mistrusted. The guides, and hosts, use their private lives to explain their position in Sweden, but the visitors also expect them to expose their personal opinions regarding how they, as Muslims, would act in morally difficult scenarios; thus, the tours present a situation where the visitors seem more comfortable than the hosts. Another significant result is that both the guides and visitors expressed the importance of the tours becoming a respectful meeting place. Religiosity, religion and secularism seem in themselves to represent otherness. What is respectful in practice, however, is not very clear. There is an ongoing debate in Swedish society concerning whether it is respectful to shake hands with a Muslim in a working situation, as is customary in Sweden. Moreover, the showing of respect is given a gender dimension on the tours, since the main way to perform respect is for every woman to wear a robe when entering the mosque. Respect as a practice seems to be mired in social inequality.

It seems difficult to become a guest if you are simultaneously appropriated the position of a Swede, and difficult to pass as a host if you position yourself as a Muslim.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för etnologi, religionshistoria och genusvetenskap, Stockholms universitet , 2016. , 214 p.
Keyword [en]
storyline, authority, regimes of truth, Swedish Muslims, self-representation, guided tours, respect, comfort zone
Keyword [sv]
sanningsregimer, svenska muslimer, självrepresentation, guidade visningar, respekt, bekvämlighetszon
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129425ISBN: 978-91-7649-419-6OAI: diva2:922233
Public defence
2016-06-15, hörsal 9, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, K2002-0395:1
Available from: 2016-05-23 Created: 2016-04-22 Last updated: 2016-05-12Bibliographically approved

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