Punching Back - Gender, Religion and Belonging in Women-Only Kickboxing
Punching Back is a detailed ethnographic study that demonstrates that young Muslim women who kickbox develop agentive selves by challenging gender norms, challenging expectations, and living out their religious subjectivities.
- Jasmijn Rana
- 01 November 2022
- Punching Back on the Berghahn publisher website
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 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