Role of Islam in Practical Life amongst Some Young Swiss Muslim Adults: A Focused Ethnographic Analysis

  • Akbar Nour Doctoral Researcher, Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland
Keywords: Ambivalent Subjectivities, Individual Religiosity, Young Swiss Muslims, Switzerland, Anthropology of Islam


Contemporary secular Switzerland has been polarised by more than two decades of anti-Muslim sentiments, conveyed through misrepresentative narratives by some politicians and media, ‘otherising’ Islam and Muslim-related issues. This polarised environment may have triggered ambivalent impacts on the personal development of Swiss-born Muslims Consequently, I suggest that they live in an ambivalent position, where their status as Muslim is not fully acknowledged and their belonging to Switzerland still questioned. Indeed, this article will explore the following research question: How do some young Swiss-born Muslim adults construct their subjectivities and experiences linked to Islam in their daily lives in contemporary Switzerland? The research methodology of this focused ethnography draws on various semi-structured interviews and informal conversations with several young Swiss Muslim men and women. The paper focuses on (a) Switzerland’s socio-cultural and political context and (b) the various ways this study’s research partners construct their ambivalent subjectivities through the analysis of their individual trajectories and narratives. It concludes that young Swiss Muslim adults formulate and produce alternative narratives, in order to make sense of their lives and accommodate various layers of identification in contemporary Switzerland. Eventually some recommendations for further research are formulated.


How to Cite
Nour, A. (2020). Role of Islam in Practical Life amongst Some Young Swiss Muslim Adults: A Focused Ethnographic Analysis. Al-Milal: Journal of Religion and Thought, 2(1), 120-133.