This article explores the ecology of late-modern askesis through the concept of ‘ethical infrastructure’: the array of goods, locales, technologies, procedures, and sundry pieces of equipment upon which the possibility of ethicists’ striving is premised. By looking at the ethnographic case of halal living among Muslim pietists in post-Soviet Tatarstan (Russia), I advance a framework that highlights the ‘profane’, often unassuming or religiously unmarked, yet essential material scaffolding constituting the ‘material conditions of possibility’ for pious life in the lifeworld of late modernity. Halalness is conceptualised not as an inherent quality of a clearly defined set of things, but as a (sometimes complicated) relationship between humans, ethical intentionality, and infrastructurally organised habitats. Pointing beyond the case of halal, this article syncretises theories of self-cultivation, material religion, ethical consumption, and infrastructure to address current lacunas and explore fresh theoretical and methodological ground. This ‘ethical infrastructure’ framework enables us to conceptualise the embeddedness of contemporary ethicists in complex environments and the process by which processes of inner self-fashioning change and are changed by material worlds.

Ethical infrastructure: Halal and the ecology of askesis in Muslim Russia

Benussi M.
2021

Abstract

This article explores the ecology of late-modern askesis through the concept of ‘ethical infrastructure’: the array of goods, locales, technologies, procedures, and sundry pieces of equipment upon which the possibility of ethicists’ striving is premised. By looking at the ethnographic case of halal living among Muslim pietists in post-Soviet Tatarstan (Russia), I advance a framework that highlights the ‘profane’, often unassuming or religiously unmarked, yet essential material scaffolding constituting the ‘material conditions of possibility’ for pious life in the lifeworld of late modernity. Halalness is conceptualised not as an inherent quality of a clearly defined set of things, but as a (sometimes complicated) relationship between humans, ethical intentionality, and infrastructurally organised habitats. Pointing beyond the case of halal, this article syncretises theories of self-cultivation, material religion, ethical consumption, and infrastructure to address current lacunas and explore fresh theoretical and methodological ground. This ‘ethical infrastructure’ framework enables us to conceptualise the embeddedness of contemporary ethicists in complex environments and the process by which processes of inner self-fashioning change and are changed by material worlds.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3758852
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