Muslims Like us is more Geordie Shore than a real challenge to stereotypes

Honest and proper reblogging. I wrote this piece for The Conversation, which is a news analysis site that is free to read, written by scholars all over the world. No, we’re not paid for it, but it is an extension of our research and teaching interests, so like with journal articles and whatnot, we’re already paid for what we do. This is just one way of doing it. And it’s Creative Commons licensed, so it can be used all over the place.

This article responded to a BBC programme that also aired this week. It’s right up my alley: media representations of Muslims in Britain. I took a little umbrage at the reality TV aesthetic getting credited as a documentary, but I do realise that a lot of thought went into its creation, just as it might for someone doing… er… a PhD on the topic. Can TV deliver in the same way? Read on – no spoilers. Except to note that more people watched this programme than would ever, I mean ever, read my thesis. So, choose yer poison.

Muslims Like Us is more Geordie Shore than a real challenge to stereotypes

Michael Munnik, Cardiff University

In my filter bubble, the diversity of Muslims in Britain is already a given. It certainly doesn’t merit a two-part “constructed documentary” that brings ten Muslims with a liquorice all-sorts of dispositions together in one house, complete with camera crew and a producer who asks questions periodically to provoke interesting television.

But my bubble, as 2016 keeps reminding me, is not the only bubble.

Muslims Like Us wears its social importance like an ironic t-shirt slogan: many people in Britain are still uncomfortable with Muslims, and the programme is handcrafted to challenge stereotypes and make people think again. Continue reading

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