Modern Muslim Motherhood: Incorporating "excessive parenting" model

Modern Muslim Motherhood: Incorporating "excessive parenting" model

Wednesday, 5 November 2014 - 12:45pm
Library Reading Room at the Middle East Centre, 68 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6JF
Dr Mastoureh Fathi
MEC Women's Rights Research Seminars


In recent years, there has been a new approach to parenting practices, based on constant surveillance, control, guilt, fear and anxiety. These parenting paradigms, aimed at ‘preventing’ possible future threats to children, place parents at the heart of the shortcomings, under-achievements, crime and the social ills of society in general. The role of mothers has been particularly important in shaping children’s future lives. However, this excessive parenting culture, to a great degree, is discussed in relation to ‘White’ parents. Ethnic minority parents are perceived to be following ‘their own’ ways of parenting that are different to the British way of raising children. This paper presents the analyses from a series of Muslim parenting guidebooks and interviews conducted with individuals involved in running Muslim parenting courses. While women who write such books are scarce, they form the majority of the participants who attend parenting courses. In this study, Muslim mothers in mainly Asian families are from lower socio-economic backgrounds, however they have adopted the excessive parenting model that are associated with middle class families. While the religious models of parenting are prescribed from majorly male standpoints, the core argument is that, excessive parenting paradigms are becoming increasingly popular with Muslim mothers in the UK that are not necessarily Islamic. These forms of applying new models of parenting should be read and understood within the discourses of belonging, identity and citizenship.


Mastoureh Fathi currently lectures in the department of Psychosocial Studies at the University of East London. Her PhD investigated the construction of social class among Iranian highly skilled migrants in Britain. She has worked on a few post-doctoral studies in Birkbeck College and University of Portsmouth that included the topics of identity, belonging, Muslim migrants and parenting. She has published on intersectionality theory, narrative research, migration of skilled migrants and belonging.

Women’s Rights Research Seminars

The Women’s Rights Research Seminars at Oxford was founded in 2009 with the initial aim of directing interdisciplinary scholarly attention to the legal status of women in Iran. Since then, the research group has broadened its purview to the rights of women in the Middle East, covering topics such as the politics of fertility, women in ethnic minorities, and the treatment of women in states governed and influenced by Islamic law and jurisprudence. WRRS welcomes seminar and paper proposals from any discipline. Enquiries: