New book explores changing Muslim masculinities

Claire Alexander’s new book, Revisiting the Asian Gang: Changing Muslim Masculinities is out now, published by Bloomsbury.

In her groundbreaking ethnography The Asian Gang, published in 2000, Claire Alexander explored the creation of Asian Muslim masculinities in South London.

Set against the backdrop of the moral panic over ’Asian gangs’ in the mid-1990s, based on 5 years of ethnographic fieldwork, the book explored the idea of ’the gang’, friendships, and the role of ’brothers’ in the formation, performance and negotiation of ethnic, religious and gendered identities.

The Asian Gang Revisited picks up the story of ’the Asian gang’ over the subsequent two decades, examining the changing identities of the original participants as they transition into adulthood in the context of increased public and political concerns over Muslim masculinities, spanning the War on Terror, ’grooming gangs’ and increased Islamophobia.

Building on her ongoing relationships with the men over 25 years, the book explores education, employment, friendship, marriage and fatherhood, and religious identity, and examines both the changes and the continuities that have shaped this group. It traces the lives of its participants from their teenage years through to their early-mid 40s.

A unique longitudinal study of this small, diverse but still close cohort of men, the book offers an intimate, rich and textured account of what it means to be a Muslim man in contemporary Britain.