Misrecognition and political agency. The case of muslim organisations in a general election

Dobbernack, Jan and Meer, Nasar and Modood, Tariq (2015) Misrecognition and political agency. The case of muslim organisations in a general election. British Journal of Politics and International Relations. ISSN 1369-1481

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Abstract

Research Highlights and Abstract: This article: Examines the meaning of claims for 'recognition' and struggles against 'misrecognition' by working through aspects of Muslim political agency in contemporary British politics; Contributes to research on the political mobilisation of Muslims in Britain by examining how civil society organisations respond to perceived stigmas and project a Muslim civic identity; Contributes to research that investigates dilemmas of political agency between the pressure to conform to standards of neutrality and maturity, on the one hand, and creativity and opposition, on the other; Demonstrates how minority actors manoeuvre and position themselves in the unsettled environment of contemporary British politics. It is a common complaint among Muslim civil society organisations that their presence in British politics is misconstrued. An increasing number of activists and groups are concerned to repudiate what they perceive to be the misperception of their political agency as exceptional and difficult to accommodate. Organisations and initiatives thus project and practice civic identities, to demonstrate that they are committed to the 'common good'. This article explores how a number of organisations positioned themselves in response to experiences of 'misrecognition' in the context of the General Election 2010. With this conceptual focus we explore one of the most pertinent characteristics of Muslim political agency in Britain today: how actors respond to perceived pressures, make claims and project identities in opposition to alleged misperceptions or the refusal to acknowledge their desired self-descriptions. The article draws on a set of qualitative interviews with representatives of advocacy organisations that mobilised Muslim constituents in the run-up to the General Election 2010.