ETHICAL SELFHOOD AND THE STATUS OF THE SECULAR: ISLAM, MODERNITY AND EVERYDAY LIFE IN MUMBAI

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195626
Title:
ETHICAL SELFHOOD AND THE STATUS OF THE SECULAR: ISLAM, MODERNITY AND EVERYDAY LIFE IN MUMBAI
Author:
Anand, Ari S
Issue Date:
2008
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
In this dissertation I explore social identity, secularism, and Indian Muslims' conceptions and experiences of living in a secular state while debating among themselves the meanings of ethical Muslim selfhood. Through participant observation and interviews based on over 15months of intensive field research, undertaken in a predominantly Muslim area of south-east Mumbai, my research focused on two groups of Muslim men--middle-class entrepreneurs and householders in their early to mid thirties, and senior students, from their late teens to early twenties, from a madrasa (Islamic seminary) attached to a prominent mosque in the city. Owing to its complex and intense dynamism, I also emphasize the city as an important agent in shaping everyday life. The core of my work is to explore secular life and secularism, central to India's liberal conception of itself as a pluralist democracy, that emerge through the lived experiences of Muslim men engaging with various daily pressures and transactions in an intensely dynamic urban context while trying to maintain a self understood to be ethical in terms of an inherited Islamic tradition. In discussing everyday phenomena such as piety and religious authority, gender, childraising, popular culture, personal and professional pursuits and ethical conduct, I demonstrate that the ostensibly `religious' domain of Islam is not necessarily the only, or even primary, basis for achieving selfhood for even those who identify as observant and devout Muslims. Rather, I argue, the religious domain of Islam in this context is defined as such and intersected by discourses and practices of the self as a political and economic agent, that is, a self defined in terms of political modernity. Thus this dissertation also contributes to the current anthropological rethinking of categories like `religion', `secularism', and `politics' in relation to social processes and subjects: a series of projects that are related, in the Indian context, to modernity and liberal conceptions of statehood, sovereignty, and personhood. A major conclusion of this work is that while most Indian Muslims have largely internalized (and accept) the liberal differentiation of politics and religion, the modern secular project in India nevertheless remains incomplete.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Entrepreneur; Madrasa; Modernity; Mumbai; Muslim; Secular
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Anthropology; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Silverstein, Brian

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleETHICAL SELFHOOD AND THE STATUS OF THE SECULAR: ISLAM, MODERNITY AND EVERYDAY LIFE IN MUMBAIen_US
dc.creatorAnand, Ari Sen_US
dc.contributor.authorAnand, Ari Sen_US
dc.date.issued2008en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractIn this dissertation I explore social identity, secularism, and Indian Muslims' conceptions and experiences of living in a secular state while debating among themselves the meanings of ethical Muslim selfhood. Through participant observation and interviews based on over 15months of intensive field research, undertaken in a predominantly Muslim area of south-east Mumbai, my research focused on two groups of Muslim men--middle-class entrepreneurs and householders in their early to mid thirties, and senior students, from their late teens to early twenties, from a madrasa (Islamic seminary) attached to a prominent mosque in the city. Owing to its complex and intense dynamism, I also emphasize the city as an important agent in shaping everyday life. The core of my work is to explore secular life and secularism, central to India's liberal conception of itself as a pluralist democracy, that emerge through the lived experiences of Muslim men engaging with various daily pressures and transactions in an intensely dynamic urban context while trying to maintain a self understood to be ethical in terms of an inherited Islamic tradition. In discussing everyday phenomena such as piety and religious authority, gender, childraising, popular culture, personal and professional pursuits and ethical conduct, I demonstrate that the ostensibly `religious' domain of Islam is not necessarily the only, or even primary, basis for achieving selfhood for even those who identify as observant and devout Muslims. Rather, I argue, the religious domain of Islam in this context is defined as such and intersected by discourses and practices of the self as a political and economic agent, that is, a self defined in terms of political modernity. Thus this dissertation also contributes to the current anthropological rethinking of categories like `religion', `secularism', and `politics' in relation to social processes and subjects: a series of projects that are related, in the Indian context, to modernity and liberal conceptions of statehood, sovereignty, and personhood. A major conclusion of this work is that while most Indian Muslims have largely internalized (and accept) the liberal differentiation of politics and religion, the modern secular project in India nevertheless remains incomplete.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectEntrepreneuren_US
dc.subjectMadrasaen_US
dc.subjectModernityen_US
dc.subjectMumbaien_US
dc.subjectMuslimen_US
dc.subjectSecularen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAnthropologyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairSilverstein, Brianen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSilverstein, Brianen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHill, Janeen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberNichter, Marken_US
dc.contributor.committeememberEaton, Richarden_US
dc.identifier.proquest10148en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659750717en_US
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