Title

Islam and the international sector: Negotiations of faith in the Kyrgyz Republic

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Publication Source

Working Paper of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies

Volume

364

Inclusive pages

1-27

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of globalization on local religious life in the Kyrgyz Republic, a formerly Soviet republic of Central Asia. The central argument of the paper is that transnational Islamic discourses alter the way Kyrgyz Muslims think about identity and religious authority. The paper draws on the work of Talal Asad, acknowledging important contributions he has made to the anthropology of Islam, as well as exploring the limitations of his approach. The paper follows Asad in viewing Islam as a tradition of competing discourses, none of which are more authentic than any other, but challenges Asad when he limits the study of Islam to competing discourses about belief and practice. Ethnographic material reveals that not only do Kyrgyz Muslims champion an astounding variety of competing discourses about Islam, but with the entrance of transnational Islamic discourses in these contests, they increasingly encompass issues of identity and religious authority.

Keywords

Anthropology, Central Asia, Globalization, Islam, Talal asad, Transnationalism

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Link to Original Published Item

https://kellogg.nd.edu/documents/1674