From “Islam Observed” to “Discursive Tradition”: On the Key Concepts of Western Anthropology of Islam
[Ot “nabliudaemogo islama” k “diskursivnoi traditsii”: o kliuchevykh kontseptsiiakh zapadnoi antropologii islama]
Type of publication: Research Article
anthropology of Islam, history of anthropology, Islamic Studies, Clifford Geertz, Ernest Gellner, Talal Asad, Saba Mahmood, orientalism, secularism
This article provides a critical review of the key concepts of Western anthropology of Islam. The entire short history of anthropology of Islam demonstrates the intention to overcome stereotypes associated with Muslim societies. In the 1960s, the attention to Islamic themes seemed innovative as such; in the 1980s, the aim was to move beyond the essentializing vision of Islam through the prism of “big” and “small” traditions; and in the 2000s, to overcome the dominant discourse on radical Islam using the discourse of “normalization” of Islam and the conceptual framework of “everyday” Islam. By build ing a genealogy of the Western anthropology of Islam, we analyze how the fundamental research question has changed: what is the object of study? Attention to certain problematic situations (and inattention to others), as well as the choice of research strategies, is inevitably mediated by the sociopolitical context: while at the dawn of this direction we were talking about the colonial experience as a dominant narrative, in the 2000s the leftist liberalism and secularism became the hegemonic discourse that frames anthropology of Islam.
Funding InformationThis research was supported by the following institutions and grants: Russian Foundation for Basic Research, https://doi.org/10.13039/501100002261 [19-39-60010]
Ragozina, S.А. 2020. From “Islam Observed” to “Discursive Tradition”: On the Key Concepts of Western Anthropology of Islam [Ot “nabliudaemogo islama” k “diskursivnoi traditsii”: o kliuchevykh kontseptsiiakh zapadnoi antropologii islama]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 4: 167–185. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150010840-4
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