This article presents the Islamic veil worn by students at the American University of Beirut (AUB) through the theory of symbolic interactionism. By questioning the background of the students and their closer social circles, the manifest appearance and latent beliefs and behaviours can be further analyzed. This study builds on the juxtaposition of the historical background of the AUB and the increase of veiled students on campus. It investigates what the veil means in a liberal Western institution like AUB. The two concepts sound contradictory for many people in Lebanon, who assume a correlation between veil and conservatism, and students within AUB negotiate different sets of values. The research is also concerned with investigating how students are reconciling these values, and what they are taking from each of the two poles of liberalism and conservatism.

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