An Analysis of Saba Mahmood's Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

An Analysis of Saba Mahmood's Politics of Piety

The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject, 1st Edition

By Jessica Johnson, Ian Fairweather

Macat Library

100 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781912128549
pub: 2017-07-06
SAVE ~$1.79
Hardback: 9781912302116
pub: 2017-07-15
SAVE ~$5.39
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781912128365
pub: 2017-07-05
from $4.50

FREE Standard Shipping!


Saba Mahmood’s 2005 Politics of Piety is an excellent example of evaluation in action.

Mahmood’s book is a study of women’s participation in the Islamic revival across the Middle East. Mahmood – a feminist social anthropologist with left-wing, secular political values – wanted to understand why women should become such active participants in a movement that seemingly promoted their subjugation. As Mahmood observed, women’s active participation in the conservative Islamic revival presented (and presents) a difficult question for Western feminists: how to balance cultural sensitivity and promotion of religious freedom and pluralism with the feminist project of women’s liberation? Mahmood’s response was to conduct a detailed evaluation of the arguments made by both sides, examining, in particular, the reasoning of female Muslims themselves. In a key moment of evaluation, Mahmood suggests that Western feminist notions of agency are inadequate to arguments about female Muslim piety. Where Western feminists often restrict definitions of women’s agency to acts that undermine the normal, male-dominated order of things, Mahmood suggests, instead, that agency can encompass female acts that uphold apparently patriarchal values.

Ultimately the Western feminist framework is, in her evaluation, inadequate and insufficient for discussing women’s groups in the Islamic revival.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the Text

Who is Saba Mahmood

What does The Politics of Piety Say?

Why does The Politics of Piety Matter?

Section 1: Influences

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context

Module 2: Academic Context

Module 3: The Problem

Module 4: The Author's Contribution

Section 2: Ideas

Module 5: Main Ideas

Module 6: Secondary Ideas

Module 7: Achievement

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work

Section 3: Impact

Module 9: The First Responses

Module 10: The Evolving Debate

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today

Module 12: Where Next?

Glossary of Terms

People Mentioned in the Text

Works Cited

About the Authors

Dr Jessica Johnson holds a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge and is currently a lecturer at the Department of African Studies and Anthropology at the University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on Southern Africa, in particular the anthropology of gender and law in Malawi.

Dr Ian Fairweather is lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on religious behavior and on the ways in which contemporary postcolonial identity strategies are articulated performatively.

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General