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Paradoxes of (un)veiling and the extended self: the experiences of Arab-Muslim women in Kuwait

Doha Saleh Almutawaa (Department of Marketing, College of Business, Australian University, West Mishref, Kuwait)
Peter Nuttall (School of Management, University of Bath, Bath, UK)
Elizabeth Mamali (Doctoral College, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK)
Fajer Saleh Al-Mutawa (Independent Researcher, Kuwait, Kuwait)
Doha Husain Makki AlJuma (Independent Researcher, Kuwait, Kuwait)

Journal of Islamic Marketing

ISSN: 1759-0833

Article publication date: 1 May 2023

Issue publication date: 4 January 2024




The purpose of this study is to develop understanding of the extended self-theory by focusing on the influence of other people in identity constructions as experienced in collectivist Eastern contexts. It specifically addresses the impact of being treated as an extended self on Arab-Muslim women’s identity constructions.


This study uses a qualitative research approach consisting of 23 in-depth semi-structured interviews. Nonprobability, purposive sampling is followed as the study targets Kuwaiti women who identify as former hijab/veil wearers. Sample diversity is attained in terms of Kuwaiti women’s demographical characteristics, including their age range, marital status and social class.


The findings of this study reveal paradoxes of experiencing the collective extended self through familial pressure to (un)veil and the strategies used by women to reject engaging with the collective extended self, including contextualizing, substituting and sexualizing the veil.


Existing studies related to the notion of the extended self are primarily conducted in Western contexts, and as such, are oriented toward personal accountability related to identity constructions. To complement this perspective and address the call for research on the extended self in collectivist societies, this study highlights the importance of recognizing the role of other people in influencing identity constructions in Eastern contexts.



Big thanks to Saleh Abdulghani AlMutawa for his support in this research.


Almutawaa, D.S., Nuttall, P., Mamali, E., Al-Mutawa, F.S. and AlJuma, D.H.M. (2024), "Paradoxes of (un)veiling and the extended self: the experiences of Arab-Muslim women in Kuwait", Journal of Islamic Marketing, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 172-191.



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