British Bangladeshi Muslim Women’s In-Law Relationships: A Narrative Analysis

Prof Doc Thesis

Karim, N. 2023. British Bangladeshi Muslim Women’s In-Law Relationships: A Narrative Analysis. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsKarim, N.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Despite being a major feature of everyday life, research on in-law relationships has received relatively scant attention in comparison to other close relationships. In-law relationships have mostly been portrayed negatively in popular culture, influencing and reflecting the pervading negative attitudes held by wider society. This has provided a narrow and restrictive view of affinal relationships. In-law relationships are found across the globe, and literature suggests that culture and its underlying values play a major role in shaping the nature and dynamics of such relationships. However, the majority of research has been dominated by the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law dyad, with little attention to the wider context.

Using a post-colonial feminist framework and narrative analysis, the current research documents the stories of 10 British Bangladeshi Muslim women and their subjective experiences of in-law relationships. The research highlights the subtle and nuanced way they navigate in-law relationships and exercise their agency. It also demonstrates how intersecting markers of difference impact experiences of agency and the shaping of their identity.

The research highlights four major themes from the analysis: (1) “It’s a family marriage” (2) Rising tensions (3) Tug of war – the role of husband and (4) Developing a survivor’s identity. A description of these themes and related subthemes are discussed.

The findings of the present study challenge Eurocentric models of feminism and demonstrate the diversity of women’s experiences and identities. They also reveal how gender intersects with other markers of identity that shape the participants’ social realities. They also point to the urgency of highlighting the role of the wider family in the perpetration of abuse against women. The research discusses further implications of findings for academics, clinicians, policy, and the wider community, and recommends suggestions for future research.

Keywordsnarrative; heuristic inquiry; qualitative; British Muslim; Bangladeshi; South Asian women; psychology; mental health; in-law; daughter-in-law; abuse; family; marriage; affinal
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
File Access Level
Repository staff only
Publication dates
Online10 Jan 2024
Publication process dates
Completed27 Nov 2023
Deposited11 Jan 2024
Copyright holder© 2024, The Author
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