Ferya Tas-Cifci


The present study analyses how immigrant women transfer and preserve their traditional honour codes, and whether women from different generations (mothers and their daughters) adhere to the same codes. Focusing particularly on the Turkish-Kurdish community living in London , the study asks, ‘How traditional honour codes are conceptualised and transferred by the women of the Turkish-Kurdish community and whether mothers and daughters share the same opinion about them.’ In a traditional society it is considered to be mothers’ duty to ensure that their culture and traditions, and particularly honour codes, are transferred and taught to their children, especially to their daughters. The data for this study come from thirty-two semi-structured interviews conducted with mothers (first generation) and daughters (second generation) from the Turkish-Kurdish community living in London. Following the thematic analysis, three themes were revealed in relation to the concept of honour codes: the meaning of honour, dress code and restricting autonomy, and intimate relationships. Honour is described through two elements in the Turkish-Kurdish context: seref (dignity, pride, prestige, honesty, respect, status and esteem) and namus (modesty and chastity). The analysis indicates that both mother and daughter participants conceptualised honour primarily through the concept of namus. Honour codes are considered as gendered concepts which are usually attached to female sexuality.

Author Biography

Dr Ferya Tas-Cifci is a senior lecturer in Law at the University of Hertfordshire. Dr Tas-Cifci holds a PhD in Law from King’s College London, where she wrote her thesis on honour-based violence in Turkey. Her main research areas are gender-based violence, honour-based violence, socio-legal studies and feminist legal theory. Please see the table at the end.