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

Doha Saleh Almutawaa, Peter Nuttall, Elizabeth Mamali, Fajer Saleh Al-Mutawa, Doha Husain Makki AlJuma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: 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. 

Design/methodology/approach: 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. 

Findings: 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. 

Originality/value: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-191
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Islamic Marketing
Issue number1
Early online date1 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2024


  • (Un)veiling
  • Extended self
  • Identity
  • Muslim women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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