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This comparative approach to the various uses of the ethnographic method in research about Islam in anthropology and other social sciences is particularly relevant in the current climate. Political discourses and stereotypical media portrayals of Islam as a monolithic civilisation have prevented the emergence of cultural pluralism and individual freedom.

This book counters such discourses by showing the diversity and plurality of Muslim societies and by promoting reflection on how the ethnographic method allows the description, representation and analysis of the social and cultural complexity of Muslim societies in the discourse of anthropology.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction, Baudouin Dupret, Thomas Pierret, Paulo Pinto and Kathryn Spellman-Poots;
  • Part One: Rituals and Symbols:
    1. Black Magic, Divination and Remedial Reproductive Agency in Northern Pakistan, Emma Varley;
    2. Preparing for the Hajj in Contemporary Tunisia: Between Religious and Administrative Ritual, Katia Boissevain;
    3. 'There Used To Be Terrible Disbelief': Mourning and Social Change in Northern Syria, Katharina Lange;
    4. Manifestations of Ashura among Young British Shi'is , Kathryn Spellman-Poots;
    5. The Ma'ruf: An Ethnography of Ritual (South Algeria), Yazid Ben Hounet;
    6. The Sufi Ritual of the Darb al-Shish and the Ethnography of Religious Experience, Paulo G. Pinto;
    7. Preaching for Converts: Knowledge and Power in the Sunni Community in Rio de Janeiro, Gisele Fonseca Chagas;
    8. Worshipping the Martyr President: The Darih of Rafiq Hariri in Beirut, Ward Vloerberghs;
    9. Staging the Authority of the Ulama: The Celebration of the Mawlid in Urban Syria, Thomas Pierret;
  • Part Two: Practices and Actions, Cedric Baylocq and Akila Drici-Bechikh;
    10. The Salafi and the Others: An Ethnography of Intracommunal Relations in French Islam, Cedric Baylocq and Akila Drici-Bechiki;
    11. Describing Religious Practices among University Students: A Case Study from the University of Jordan, Amman, Daniele Cantini;
    12. Referring to Islam in Mutual Teasing: Notes on an Encounter between Two Tanzanian Revivalists, Sigurd D'hondt;
    13. Salafis as Shaykhs: Othering the Pious in Cairo, Aymon Kreil;
    14. Ethics of Care, Politics of Solidarity: Islamic Charitable Organisations in Turkey, Hilal Alkan-Zeybek;
    15. Making Shari'a Alive: Court Practice under an Ethnographic Lens, Susanne Dahlgren;
    16. Referring to Islam as a Practice: Audiences, Relevancies and Language Games within the Egyptian Parliament, Enrique Klaus and Baudouin Dupret;
    17. Contesting Public Images of ‘Abd al-Halim Mahmud (1910-78): Who is an Authentic Scholar?, Hatsuki Aishima; Part Three: The Ethnography of History;
    18. Possessed of Documents: Hybrid Laws and Translated Texts in the Hadhrami Diaspora, Michael Gilsenan;
  • About the Contributors;
  • Index.

Publication Information

Aga Khan University-ISMC; Edinburgh University Press, 2012


Exploring Muslim Contexts




9780748645503, 9780748689842


Exploring Muslim Contexts

Volume 3: Ethnographies of Islam : Ritual Performances and Everyday Practices