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Knowledge, renewal and religion: repositioning and changing ideological and material circumstances among the Swahili on the East African coast
The Nordic Africa Institute.
2009 (English)Collection (editor) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the past decades religion has entered the political debate and is evoked in relation to a variety of events taking place around the world. Religion and religious differences, not political, economic or social, are claimed to be the cause rather than an expression of – or even a reaction to – ongoing problems. Islam and Christianity (or also Islam and Hinduism) are, in most cases, represented not only as opposed, but also as incommensurable worldviews, value systems and identities, where the one is threatening the existence of the other. Among the Swahili on the East-African Coast, this trend provokes questions related to whether we should approach what appear to be expressions of religious positioning in terms of renewal of previous understandings and relationships, or as a rephrasing of complex and conflictual matters that were always part of Swahili society. The papers in this book reveal that the Swahili are experiencing worsening economic, political and social conditions. Within these circumstances, Islam is invoked as a source of knowledge that not only explains the current state of life and living, but also gives directions on how to cope with and to change the situation for the better. Islam is both what reinforces Swahili identity and a particular way of life, and at the same time, given the current international climate, further marginalizes Swahili society and culture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet , 2009. , 310 p.
Keyword [en]
Social anthropology, Cultural anthropology, Cultural identity, Islam, Social change, Modernization, Social History
National Category
Social Anthropology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nai:diva-500ISBN: 978-91-7106-635-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nai-500DiVA: diva2:275690
Note
CONTENTS -- Introduction/Kjersti Larsen -- Kilwa and the Swahili Towns: Reflections from an Archaeological Perspective/Felix Chami -- Towards a Paradigm of Swahili Religious Knowledge: Some Observations/Farouk Topan -- Royal Ancestors and Social Change in the Majunga Area: Northwest Madagascar 19th–20th Centuries/Marie Pierre Ballarin -- Societal Change and Swahili Spirit Possession/Linda L. Giles -- Contested Interpretations of Muslim Poetries, Legitimacy and Daily Life Polictics/Francesca Declich -- Siku ya Arafa and the Idd el-Hajj: Knowledge, Ritual and Renewal in Tanzania/Gerard C. van de Bruinhorst -- Narratives of Democracy and Dominance in Zanzibar/Greg Cameron -- Baraza as Markers of Time in Zanzibar/Roman Loimeier -- The Impact of Religious Knowledge and the Concept of Dini Wal Duniya in Urban Zanzibari Life-Style/Mohamed Ahmed Saleh -- Understanding Modernity/ies: The Idea of a Moral Community on Mafia Island, Tanzania/Pat Caplan -- The Role of Islam in the Political and Social Perceptions of the Waswahili of Lamu/Assibi A. Amidu -- “In the Olden Days We Kept Slaves”: Layers of Memory and Present Practices/Ulla Vuorela -- Wonders of the Exotic: Chinese Formula Medicines on the East African Coast/Elisabeth HsuAvailable from: 2009-11-06 Created: 2009-11-02 Last updated: 2011-04-26Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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