Hastings International and Comparative Law Review

Article Title

Headscarf Stories


Ian Ward


The seemingly intractable issue of headscarves - when they can be worn, and when they cannot - is currently contested in much of Europe. The apparent intractability is a common experience. The purpose of this article is to present three headscarf 'stories,' and in so doing, stress the narrative nature of this intensely moral and political, as well as legal, controversy. Narrativity, it will be suggested, offers a far more effective means of approaching this kind of issue and its inevitable indeterminacies than the simple recourse to blunt legal instrumentation. While the law must, it seems, play a role in attempting to resolve the agonistic tensions that revolve around the wearing, or not, of headscarves, there is value in properly appreciating the law's limitations.