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The legitimacy of politics restricting Muslims rights: the role of gender on the construction of the racialised Other

Lavinia Gianettoni
Université de Lausanne
Lavinia Gianettoni
Université de Lausanne
Open Panel

Abstract

Research developed in an intersectional perspective analyze how different hierarchical systems, e.g. based on race and gender, interact in a synergistic way. In this line, I will present two research conducted in Switzerland based on a questionnaire analyzing specifically how sexism participates to the construction of the racialized Other and, this way, reinforces the legitimacy of politics aimed to limit Muslims rights. Our results show that the more people adopt a sexist attitude (e.g. legitimate a gendered division of labour), the more they idealize Western countries and, at the same time, attribute more sexism to racialized Others (Africans, Muslims, Southern countries, etc.). This subtle sexist process, i.e. the denial of the sexism structuring the modern societies, contribute to the legitimacy of racist politics aimed to limit Muslims rights (for example by forbidding to wear the headscarf or to construct minarets). In conclusion, when sexism is perceived as a specific problem of an “archaic” racialized Other opposed to a general problem structuring all societies, anti-Muslims laws are legitimated on the basis of an instrumentalized gender-linked content.