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Keeping It HalalThe Everyday Lives of Muslim American Teenage Boys$
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John O'Brien

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691197111

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691197111.001.0001

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The Culturally Contested Lives of Muslim Youth and American Teenagers

The Culturally Contested Lives of Muslim Youth and American Teenagers

(p.1) 1 The Culturally Contested Lives of Muslim Youth and American Teenagers
Keeping It Halal

John O'Brien

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides the background of a group of young men, referred to as the “Legendz,” who were urban American teenagers and second-generation immigrants. These young men were also self-identified and practicing Muslims embedded in a tightknit religious community. As some of the central cultural expectations associated with urban American teenage life were understood to be in tension with or even direct opposition to those locally associated with being a “good Muslim,” these young men led what can be called culturally contested lives. As such, the everyday lives of the Legendz were characterized in part by the presence of two competing sets of cultural expectations, or what can be called cultural rubrics: urban American teen culture, as manifested in their schools, peer groups, and the media they consumed; and religious Islam, as locally practiced in their mosque and by their families. Precisely how these young Muslim American men innovated and applied creative social solutions to their immediate cultural dilemmas, and how these efforts marked them as fundamentally similar to a broad range of other American teenagers, is the focus of this book.

Keywords:   urban American teenagers, second-generation immigrants, Muslims, cultural expectations, urban American teen culture, Islam, Muslim American teenagers, cultural rubrics

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