Islamic Conversation: Sohbet and Ethics in Contemporary Turkey, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Islamic Conversation

Sohbet and Ethics in Contemporary Turkey, 1st Edition

By Smita Tewari Jassal


192 pages

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Hardback: 9781138391192
pub: 2019-11-30
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The book evaluates on-going ethical conversations to learn how emotional communication is received, teachings internalized, and a religious world-view brought to life. Exploring how religious values saturate people’s consciousness to induce subtle shifts in moral and ethical sensibilities, this book is about people’s practices that illuminate how Islam is lived.

Based on fieldwork conducted in Ankara between 2010-2016, the study enquires into people’s ethical, religious, and moral motivations, through the use of the ethnographic method and "thick description". Conversations and interviews with officials, community leaders, students, entrepreneurs, professionals, and blue-collar workers, were subjected to close scrutiny to foreground societal change and churning. To capture perspectives absent or deliberately overlooked in mainstream public discourse and scholarship, fieldwork was conducted in locations ranging from homes, offices, university dorms, and the shrines of saints. In listening closely to how people talk about their religious practices, the book addresses the question of how Islamic subjectivities are being forged in Turkey. The study unveils how people are pushed to re-think old practices and attitudes in the process of reinterpreting Islam in the light of contemporary concerns.

Filling a gap in the literature where micro-level, grounded analyses of culture and society are relatively rare, the book is a key resource for readers interested in anthropology of religion and gender, ethnography, Turkey and the Middle East.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Art of Ethical Conversation in Turkey

1. Reading the Risale-Nur in a women's sohbet

2. The "Modernity" of Zakat in Turkey

3. Healing the Social Body: Sohbet with Ankara’s Alevi Saint

4. Art of Dreaming: At the Tombs of Saints

5. Discourse in the Dorms

6. On Places of Worship and Role of Diyanet

About the Author

Smita Tewari Jassal is a Professor of Sociology in Ambedkar University, Delhi. She teaches gender, theories and methods in social anthropology, culture, and courses on India. Her research interests include marginality, gender, religion, rural transformations, caste, collective memory, and cultural production. She has authored Unearthing Gender: Folksongs of North India (2012), Daughters of the Earth: Women and Land in Uttar Pradesh (2001) and co-edited New Perspectives on India and Turkey: Connections and Debates (2017) and The Partition Motif in Contemporary Conflicts (2006).

About the Series

Routledge Islamic Studies Series

This broad ranging series includes books on Islamic issues from all parts of the globe and is not simply confined to the Middle East.



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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Islam / Rituals & Practice
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Islamic Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies