Skip to main content

Biography and Choice: Female Converts to Islam in the Netherlands


Journal abstract

This article assesses the relevance of the rational-choice approach for understanding female conversion to Islam in the Netherlands. Rational-choice theories are important for focusing on the increasingly pluralistic character of the religious market and the active nature of religious actors. It is argued that women are active actors who make sensible choices. Yet the rational choice conception of rationality is rather limited and the specific characteristics of the commodity ‘Islam’ are not accounted for in this approach. In addition, the actors are presented as agents without identity and history. By analysing the life stories of three Dutch converts, it is shown how certain Islamic narratives become meaningful in their lives. By using a biographical approach, an attempt is made to bring the history and identity of the actors and the content of their faith into focus without denying the ‘rationality’ of their choice.

You might also like: