Young Muslims’ religious identities in relation to places beyond the UK: a qualitative map-making technique in Newcastle upon Tyne

Laura Kapinga*, Bettina van Hoven, Bettina B. Bock, Peter Hopkins

*Corresponding author for this work

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Transnational relations can play an important role in young people’s identity negotiations and transitions to adulthood. In this article, we explore how young British-born Muslims construct and contest their religious identities and experience their changing religious identities from their lateteens until their early-twenties. We analyse how places beyond the UK shape their religious beliefs and identities in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England, and present a methodological tool to understand young people’s complex and changing (religious) identities and spatialities. We draw on in-depth interviews–including map-making methods–with a small number of young Muslims living in Newcastle upon Tyne whose parents migrated from Pakistan or Bangladesh. This article contributes to youth geographies, by illustrating that when the participants begin to negotiate ‘being Muslim’ more independently, the spatial orientation of their religious identities starts to change as well. We show that the changing meaning and importance of the places beyond the UK should be understood in relation to other spatial notions when explaining religious identity negotiations of young people. Moreover, the paper provides a methodological contribution in demonstrating how map-making can help to examine young people’s identities and changing relationships to places in a transnational context.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChildren's Geographies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Identities
  • Map-making methods
  • Muslim youth
  • Religion
  • Spatialities
  • Transnational relations

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