Muslim Families, Politics and the Law: A Legal Industry in Multicultural Britain, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Muslim Families, Politics and the Law

A Legal Industry in Multicultural Britain, 1st Edition

By Ralph Grillo


360 pages

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Paperback: 9781138719897
pub: 2017-02-03
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pub: 2015-04-28
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Contemporary European societies are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, certainly in terms of the diversity which has stemmed from the immigration of workers and refugees and their settlement. Currently, however, there is widespread, often acrimonious, debate about ’other’ cultural and religious beliefs and practices and limits to their accommodation. This book focuses principally on Muslim families and on the way in which gender relations and associated questions of (women’s) agency, consent and autonomy, have become the focus of political and social commentary, with followers of the religion under constant public scrutiny and criticism. Practices concerning marriage and divorce are especially controversial and the book includes a detailed overview of the public debate about the application of Islamic legal and ethical norms (shari’a) in family law matters, and the associated role of Shari’a councils, in a British context. In short, Islam generally and the Muslim family in particular have become highly politicized sites of contestation, and the book considers how and why and with what implications for British multiculturalism, past, present and future. The study will be of great interest to international scholars and academics researching the governance of diversity and the accommodation of other faiths including Islam.


"Grillo's sophisticated analysis exploring the status of Muslim families is an important contribution to this area brings a much-needed sense of clarity and is presented in an easily digested form. It deals with the issues relating to how the Muslim family operates and this book shows the connections between the law and values, seeking to begin a meaningful debate on how to find workable solutions, considering the possibility of accommodation of Islamic beliefs and practices within the English legal framework. Although Grillo has focused on Britain, this book has the authority to be a solid platform for discussions about the status of the Muslim family across Europe and will appeal to academics, legal professionals and policy-makers who are interested in matters relating to Muslim family law."

Vishal Vora, SOAS, University of London, Child and Family Law Quarterly

About the Author

Ralph Grillo is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex where he was formerly Dean of the School of African and Asian Studies and founding director of the Research Centre for Culture, Development and the Environment. Although he has also written on the anthropology of development and the anthropology of language, he has had a long-standing concern with transnational migration and ethnicity in Africa and Europe. Since the mid-1990s he has focused on cultural diversity and its governance in France, Italy, and the UK. Increasingly this has involved working with anthropologists, lawyers and political scientists on issues relating to cultural and religious diversity and the law in Europe and North America, with a particular interest in the ’legal industry’ which has grown up around Islam.

About the Series

Cultural Diversity and Law

Cultural Diversity and Law
Around the world, most states are faced with difficult issues arising out of cultural diversity in their territories. Within the legal field, such issues span across matters of private law through to public and constitutional law. At international level too there is now considerable jurisprudence regarding ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. In addition, there are several layers of legal control - from communal and religious regulation to state and international regulation. This multiplicity of norm setting has been variously termed legal pluralism, inter-legality or inter-normativity and provides a fascinating lens for academic analysis that links up to cultural diversity in new and interesting ways. The umbrella of cultural diversity encompasses various population groups throughout the world ranging from national, ethnic, religious or indigenous groupings. This series particularly welcomes work that is of comparative interest, concerning various state jurisdictions as well as different population groups.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Public
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Human Rights