Modest Dress at Work as Lived Religion: Women’s Dress in Religious Work Contexts in Saudi Arabia and the UK

Kristin Aune, Reina Lewis, Lina Molokotos-Liederman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article explores how women in religious workplaces respond to organizational norms of and requirements for modest dress and behavior, both implicit and explicit. It compares two case studies: women working for faith-based organizations (FBOs) in the UK, and women working for secular organizations who travel for work to Saudi Arabia, where the state requirement to dress modesty meant wearing an abaya (slightly relaxed in 2019). Data come from semi-structured interviews with 43 women: 21 who travelled from the UK to Saudi Arabia and 22 who work in UK FBOs. It examines three themes: how women adapt to forms of modest dress; how they navigate dress regulation; and how they negotiate habitus and authenticity. The article proposes that women’s modest dress in workplaces governed by religious codes be understood as a form of lived religious practice and one that raises dilemmas of habitus and authenticity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalSociology of Religion
Volume(In-Press)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Jun 2022

Funder

AHRC

Keywords

  • dress
  • religious organizations
  • women and employment
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Kingdom

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