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Title: Zakat in Nablus (Palestine) : change and continuity in Islamic almsgiving
Author: Schaeublin, Emanuel
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 5314
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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The anthropology of ethics is a project of developing a common language in order to describe and to analyse ethical tensions as they manifest themselves across different traditions as well as changing social and historical contexts. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Palestinian city of Nablus in the West Bank, this thesis contributes to the anthropology of ethics with an analysis the virtuous spending of wealth - with a particular focus on zakat (Islamic almsgiving) - as it emerges through the Islamic discursive tradition. This stirs up wider issues, such as the trajectory of an ethical tradition in a politically repressive context. Historically, Nablus has been subject to different instances of foreign rule. Since 1967, the city has been under Israeli military occupation. This thesis shows how social interactions constitute a field of ethical practice. References to the Islamic Scriptures surfacing in greetings, conversations, and transactions in Nablus can be read as invoking an Islamic system of value. Acts of generous giving are sometimes inserted into this system, which unfolds in the context of the political economy of Israeli occupation. In this wider landscape, zakat in Nablus emerges both as (1) a socially embodied virtue realized within and through social relations; and as (2) an institutionalized practice carried out by zakat institutions, which since the 1970s have mainly evolved in a legal framework defined by state of Jordan. Analysing zakat on these two levels, this thesis grants insights into how military occupation, modern state administration, and capitalism fragment and inflect the Islamic discursive tradition, e.g. by foregrounding certain aspects of the Scriptures over others. With a view to embodied practices of zakat and ethical interactions, Islamic discourse manifests a certain plasticity and continuity. Conceiving wealth and scarcity as inherently ethical problems rooted in social interactions, the Islamic tradition notably provides a conceptual language of wider relevance.
Supervisor: Clarke, Morgan Sponsor: Berrow Foundation ; Swiss National Science Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Zakat ; Islamic giving ; Wealth--Moral and ethical aspects ; Nablus--Social conditions