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Title: Reimagining the Umma : translocal space and the changing boundaries of Muslim political community
Author: Mandaville, Peter G.
ISNI:       0000 0001 1086 0926
Awarding Body: University of Kent at Canterbury
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 1998
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A wide variety of 'translocal' forces - diasporic peoples, transnational social movements, global & migratory cities, post-national institutions, information technologies - are challenging the traditional state-centrism of International Relations' political imaginary. Moreover, just as people are translocal, so are their theories. This thesis analyses Islam as a form of 'travelling theory' in the context of the global transformations outlined above. It seeks to understand how globalising processes are manifested as lived experience through a discussion of debates over the meaning of Muslim identity, political community an the emergence of something like a 'critical Islam.' After a critique of state-centric thinking in International Relations, the thesis goes on to suggest that more sophisticated treatments of translocal politics can be found in the literatures of anthropology, postcolonial and cultural studies. A non-essentialist conception of Islam is introduced, followed by a discussion of the conditions under which Muslim discourses on the umma (the world community of believers) have historically been produced. Three key theoretical tropes - travelling theory, hybridity and diaspora - are then discussed as framing devices for understanding translocal politics. Two case study chapters, one on the politics of Muslim diaspora communities and the other on Muslim uses of communications and information technologies, are presented. The first focuses on debates with Muslim communities as to the nature and meaning of modern Islam, the reformulation of Muslim thought on politics, community and gender and the implications of travelling Islam's return journey to its various original settings. The second case study highlights the changing boundaries of religious knowledge by demonstrating how information technologies have been deployed as a mean by which to contest traditional sources of Islamic authority. In the concluding chapter it is argued that translocal forces are leading to the emergence of a wider Muslim public sphere. Futhermore, the critical discourses enabled by this translocal space amount to a reconceptualisation and reimagining of the umma.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: JISC Digital Islam
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: JA Political science (General) ; B Philosophy (General) ; BL Religion