"Traditional Islam" has emerged in the post-Soviet Republic of Tatarstan (Russian Federation) as a powerful if contentious discursive trope. In this paper, I look at traditional Islam and its conceptual twin, Bnon-traditional Islam^, as normative governmental tools aimed at defining acceptable or unwelcome form of religious commitment in an environment in which the rapid success of Sunni piety trends after socialism’s end has exacerbated the anxieties of both state institutions and a predominantly secular public. Traditional Islam’s multiple facets are explored, with particular attention given to the aspects of heritage-making, at the local (republican) level, and loyalty-fostering at the national (all-Russian) level. The concept’s genealogy, spanning different phases of Soviet and post-Soviet history, is analysed in detail. In addition, I focus on the reception of the traditional/non-traditional Islam discourse amongst grassroots pious Muslims, highlighting instances of criticism, lampooning, rejection, but also qualified acceptance. The concluding sections of my paper touch on Btheological^ traditional Islam’s potential and limitations for expanding civil society and harnessing grassroots enthusiasm.

“Sovereign” Islam and Tatar “Aqīdah”: Normative Religious Narratives and Grassroots Criticism amongst Tatarstan’s Muslims

Matteo Benussi
2020

Abstract

"Traditional Islam" has emerged in the post-Soviet Republic of Tatarstan (Russian Federation) as a powerful if contentious discursive trope. In this paper, I look at traditional Islam and its conceptual twin, Bnon-traditional Islam^, as normative governmental tools aimed at defining acceptable or unwelcome form of religious commitment in an environment in which the rapid success of Sunni piety trends after socialism’s end has exacerbated the anxieties of both state institutions and a predominantly secular public. Traditional Islam’s multiple facets are explored, with particular attention given to the aspects of heritage-making, at the local (republican) level, and loyalty-fostering at the national (all-Russian) level. The concept’s genealogy, spanning different phases of Soviet and post-Soviet history, is analysed in detail. In addition, I focus on the reception of the traditional/non-traditional Islam discourse amongst grassroots pious Muslims, highlighting instances of criticism, lampooning, rejection, but also qualified acceptance. The concluding sections of my paper touch on Btheological^ traditional Islam’s potential and limitations for expanding civil society and harnessing grassroots enthusiasm.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3758858
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