Mobilising the People Through Gender and religion—The Veil as an Object for Populist Politics

Öztürk E., Serdar A., Giritli Nygren K.

15th European Sociological Association Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 31 August - 03 September 2021, pp.1040

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Barcelona
  • Country: Spain
  • Page Numbers: pp.1040
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In this paper, we comparatively analyse radical right-wing parties’ intervention into the veil debate in Turkey, France and Sweden which are characterised by different understandings of legal and normative secularism. We explore the intersection of gender and religion in the dynamic formation of populist categories and how they can be mobilised differently along the vertical and the horizontal axes by the example of the veil. In all three countries we have analysed capitalise on gender, religiosity and secularity, and the veil is exploited in drawing boundaries between the People and non-People but also between the People and the Elites. In this way, the meanings attributed to the veil are used as a mechanism of exclusion and of drawing the boundaries through gendered narratives of who belongs to the People.