Honour, Violence and Heteronormativity

Abstract

Popular representations of Honour Based Violence (HBV) and honour killings construct this violence as an artefact of an uncivilised code of morality. Here ird, sharaf or izzat and shame are adhered to particular moral codes that are more likely to be found in the Quran. This clichéd version of HBV frames Muslim women’s sexual autonomy as exceptionally regulated, most commonly by male family members with the complicity of female relatives. In its most extreme (and publicly known) form, HBV is epitomised by the ‘honour’ killings that come to the attention of the criminal justice system and, as a consequence, the media. Yet emerging research shows that HBV unfolds through increasingly punitive systems of social punishment, which is neither unique to Islam, nor religious communities more generally. In this paper, it is argued that the construction of HBV as a matter of deviant and antiquated Muslim honour codes is Islamophobic and that a more productive lens through which to understand collective familial violence may lie in the conceptual framework of heteronormativity.
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Published: 2015-10-05
Pages:73 to 84
Section:Articles
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Author Biography

University of Western Sydney
 Australia
Dr Nicole Asquith is the Associate Professor of Policing and Criminal Justice at the University of Western Sydney, University Associate with the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies (UTAS) and Adjunct Research Fellow with the Centre for Globalisation and Citizenship at Deakin University.