Islamic Society in Practice

Islamic Society in Practice

eBook - 1994
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University of Florida Press

"A unique contribution that tests the essence of Islamic societies by observing them in practice. . . .  I found her insights on gender relations to be profound and refreshing."--Ghada Talhami, Lake Forest College

"A comprehensive piece of work on contemporary Arab society. . . . Clear, sympathetic, but not apologetic."--Ismail Abdalla, College of William and Mary

Written in the wake of the Gulf War, this book introduces the West to everyday Arab-Islamic culture and society, humanizing the region and its people. It ventures behind the headlines to offer a positive, constructive view of Islam and Muslims, showing how Islam is lived and prac-ticed in daily life in the Sudan, Egypt, and Tunisia.
 Islamic Society in Practice is both scholarly and personal, intended for classroom use and for a general audience. It examines Islamic society on a grassroots level, using the basic anthropological method of participant observation. It treats the major dimensions of Islamic society from the core elements of the religion (including the religious-social values it promotes) to the type of society it engenders, the laws that institutionalize social practice, and the contemporary movements for reform or restoration of Islamic precepts in individual nations.
 Writing from the perspective of a sympathetic American woman, Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban discusses in depth the social dynamics of gender transformation and Islam, examining the complex issue as one more dilemma confronting societies that are struggling to cope with Western ways of thinking.
 Fluehr-Lobban’s formal research and informal observations span the years 1970 to 1990, a time of dynamic change for the Arab and Muslim worlds. These decades took her from the life of a graduate student to that of a professor.  With her husband and two daughters, she lived and conducted field research, traveling extensively in Africa and the Middle East. She conveys here the richness of her family experiences in their adopted communities, their deepening understanding of both Western and Islamic culture, and their growing appreciation for the Muslim "other" as a fellow human being.

Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban is professor of anthropology at Rhode Island College.

"When Americans look at the Muslim world, they see a uniform culture (Arab) with a single language (Arabic) communicated through a uniform religious belief and practice (Islam). Fluehr-Lobban shows us how simplistic and mistaken this view is."--Library Journal

"Islamic Societies in Practice is an eloquent, thought-provoking antidote to the American media’s attempts to reduce the complexity of the Muslim world to 30-second sound bytes. Fluehr-Lobban proffers insights which are the result of an open mind and long-term field experience. She addresses the misconceptions which many Westerners have about the Middle East, not only with fact and historical content, but also with anecdotal material about her own experience there, an unbeatable combination."--Middle East Women’s Studies Review

"An accessible primer on Islamic society, providing a good historical overview with a focus on how Islam is practiced. . . . The author’s descriptions of Islamic values and social practices, gender relations, and the tensions within the umma, or the world Muslim community, are effectively filtered through her own experience."--Publishers Weekly

"A wonderful contribution to the field . . . a concrete set of images and stories that offer many opportunities for discussions of the politics of ordinary life, as well as the opportunities in the region for increasing democracy, greater human rights, and expanded women’s roles."--International Journal of Middle East Studies

Originally written in the wake of the Gulf War, this book introduced the West to everyday Arab-Islamic cultures and societies, humanizing the region and its people. It ventured behind the headlines to offer a positive, constructive view of Islam and Muslims, showing how Islam is lived and practiced in daily life.

Now revised and expanded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Islamic Societies in Practice embraces the breadth of global Islam with significant new material on Islam in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States, as well as the Middle East. New maps and illustrations are included, detailing the diversity and representation of Islam and Muslims throughout the world. Additional material includes discussions of male and female relations; folk Islam, popular expressions of faith, and the five pillars; Sufism, including the Turkish Dervishes; ethnic and racial differences in the Muslim world; Islamic law and the application of harsh punishments; political Islam and the future of the state in the Islamic world; and the many voices of progressive Muslims--feminists, human rights activists, and anti-extremist writers.

Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban is professor of anthropology at Rhode Island College.

Publisher: Gainesville : University Press of Florida, ©1994
ISBN: 9780813021522
Characteristics: 1 online resource (x, 191 pages) : illustrations, maps


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