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Punching Back: Gender, Religion and Belonging in Women-Only Kickboxing

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Volume 5

New Anthropologies of Europe: Perspectives and Provocations

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Punching Back

Gender, Religion and Belonging in Women-Only Kickboxing

Jasmijn Rana

180 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-689-4 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (November 2022)

eISBN 978-1-80073-690-0 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Jasmijn Rana has written an engaging, well-crafted and long-anticipated ethnography of the intersectionally gendered and racialized experience of Muslim Dutch women, drawn from her own apprenticeship in women-only kickboxing venues in the southern neighbourhoods of The Hague.” • Paul Silverstein, Reed College

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and feel that it makes a very important contribution to the fields of sport studies, martial arts studies, migration studies and the anthropology of Islam in Europe.” • Alex Channon, University of Brighton


In the Netherlands, girls and young women are increasingly active in women-only kickboxing. The general assumption, in the Netherlands and in western Europe more broadly, is that women’s sport is a form of secular, feminist empowerment. Muslim women’s participation would then exemplify the incongruence of Islam with the modern, secular nation-state. Punching Back provides a detailed ethnographic study that contests this view by showing that young Muslim women who kickbox establish agentive selves by playing with gender norms, challenging expectations, and living out their religious subjectivities.

Jasmijn Rana is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University.

Subject: SociologyAnthropology (General)Gender Studies and Sexuality
Area: Europe


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