The Absent Presence: Reflections on the Discursive Practice of Veiling

Part of the Schriftenreihe der Internationalen Frauenuniversität »Technik und Kultur« book series (SIFU, volume 6)


This paper will explore the relationship between the veil, as a discursive practice and (hetro)sexuality. Using poststructuralist methodology I will examine how the veil, as a discursive practice, continues to reproduce and reinforce relations of patriarchal dominance. The religious, sociopolitical and cultural implications of the veil and the practice of veiling are myriad. For instance, the ideology of the veil is directly related to conceptualizations of femininity, masculinity, subjectivity, objectivity, power, control, visibility, the construction of private and public realms, and sexual taboos. In examining the institutionalization of the veil and its relation to female sexuality, I will focus on three points that, in my view, reflect the discursive conceptualization of the veil: 1. The segregative function of the veil; the portable wall. 2. The protective function of the veil; blocking the masculine gaze. 3. The privatization function of the veil; the veiled body, the virgin body, and the private realm.


Muslim Woman Discursive Practice Public Realm Male Stranger Poststructuralist Theory 
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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2002

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