Exploring Honour and Shame for South Asian British Muslim Men and Women

  • Nasreen Mansoor

Student thesis: Phd


This study explored honour and shame for South Asian British Muslim men and women. It aimed to offer plausible answers to the definition, concept, impact and gender differences of honour and shame for this sociocultural and faith group of people. This qualitative piece of research encompassed triangulation of individual interviews, focus groups and photo elicitation. Thirty participants who were of South Asian British Muslim identities were recruited via a purposive sampling strategy. This included men and women of diverse demographics and locations with an age range of nineteen - sixty-four. The majority of interviews were conducted in English, with some participant's sporadic dialogue in Arabic, Bangla, Punjabi and Urdu. The methodology was thematic analysis. Seven main themes were identified via thematic analysis of the data. A humanistic stance underpinned the conduct of the study alongside a hermeneutic researcher stance. A social constructivist and interpretive epistemological position in conjunction with a critical realism perspective infused the research process. A predominantly insider researcher position was established which was a major influence in eliciting the rich, deep and meaningful data which emerged regarding the honour and shame phenomena. Researcher reflexivity was a key factor in how the research was approached, conducted, interpreted and understood. This study identified a threefold patriarchal construct; Western, South Asian and Muslim underpinned the honour and shame phenomena. The research illustrated honour appeared to be relational and the nexus which held the family relationships together. Shame seemed to be the substance which fractured this complicated structure. There were narratives of some South Asian British Muslim women being sectioned and admitted into psychiatric institutions due to them being at risk to themselves/and or other persons. The deterioration in their mental health appeared to be closely associated with their experiences of being subjected to abusive honour and shame stipulations. The study also found cultural and traditional mores were very influential components in deleterious honour and shame practices, which at times replaced Islamic principles. One of the more significant findings to emerge from this study was that some British Muslim Bangladeshi communities practised a bride price system. These findings cannot be extrapolated to all South Asian British Muslims as they derived from a small sample size.
Date of Award31 Dec 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorWilliam West (Supervisor) & Peter Jenkins (Supervisor)


  • Honour, Shame, South Asian, British, Muslim, Men, Women

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