Study of Muslim societies instead of Islamic studies

11May10

http://kangozy.co.cc/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16&Itemid=27

Asef Bayat, “The Use and Abuse of ‘Muslim Societies’”, in ISIM Newsletter, no 13, December 2003, p. 5.

As the written title, Bayat generally explores the term of `Muslim societies which not only refers to both a `particular` culture and geographical area of the world but can serve as a useful analytical category. Different from the term of `Islamic world` or `Islamic Society` which implicitly denotes Islam as the central factor of shaping the social dynamics, the term of `Muslim  societies`, with plural ‘s’ has a wider understanding and more concrete entities. Here, Muslims are free to interpret and perform their own reality in a differentiated fashion and, consequently, ‘culture’ becomes an always changing and flexible entity.

Furthermore, Bayat suggests two advantages of the study of `Muslim societies`. The first is that societies are open to define and characterize themselves and the second is that a scholarly field presenting both the comparative advantages of area studies and disciplinary frameworks will enrich the empiric and theoretic research outcome. Hence, `Islamic studies` which has have its own particular focus and methodology is different from the study of `Muslim societies`.



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