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Title: Geographies of youth, volunteering and religion: narratives of young Muslim volunteers in Birmingham, UK
Authors: Fewtrell, Timothy
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: © Tim Fewtrell
Abstract: This thesis sits at the interface of three cross-cutting areas of research: youth, volunteering and religion. Geography has made notable contributions to the study of youth in recent years, through a focus on spatialities of the lives of young people. There remains, however, a bias towards research on young people in higher education. Research by geographers on volunteering has been vibrant and diverse, yet understandings of what and who a volunteer is remain hazy and problematic. Islam has received considerable attention within geography. The relationship between Islam and the West is continually shifting and geographical research needs to keep up with this everchanging landscape. This thesis examines the narratives of young Muslim volunteers in Birmingham, UK, exploring four research questions: (1) What is the landscape of volunteering in Muslim communities in Birmingham? ; (2) What pathways do young Muslims take to become volunteers? ; (3) What are the experiences of young Muslims who volunteer? ; and (4) How does volunteering shape the identities of young Muslims? . To address these research questions, a mixed methods approach was utilised, comprising of a questionnaire survey of 382 respondents and a series of 45 interviews amongst Muslims between the ages of 18 to 25. The motivations for volunteering amongst the respondents were primarily altruistic, challenging the depiction of youth volunteering as a route to corporate work. Muslim women were more exposed to discrimination within their own communities through cultural and religious expectations, particularly within more religiously conservative communities. Women were also more exposed to abuse from outside of their communities through Islamophobia. Volunteering amongst young Muslims provided a sense of belonging, eroded stereotypes and broke down barriers within society. The findings of this thesis provide empirical and conceptual contributions to literature on youth, volunteering and religion. The research expands the literature on young people beyond a focus on higher education, as well as providing analytical purchase to the understanding of vital conjunctures in relation to youth transitions. This thesis provides several conceptual contributions to research on volunteering, developing definitions of volunteering to reflect the diversity of formal, informal and embodied micro practices uncovered within this research project. This thesis offers new perspectives on the everyday lives of young Muslims in Britain through their engagement with volunteering.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
Sponsor: Loughborough University, Graduate School.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/32452
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Geography and Environment)

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