11,027 Works

Secular Atmospheres: Unveiling and Urban Space in Early 20th Century Iran

Sana Chavoshian
Drawing on sociological approaches to urbanism and secularization, as well as the affective turn in anthropology, this article explores the implementation of secular policies in Iran after the 1936 Unveiling Decree. I argue that constructing transparent social relations reflects the emergence of a new level of secular binds and relies upon the modalities of urban infrastructure and architecture. I find that modernization and secularization in Iran are interlinked by transformations in urban planning that tended...

Transnationalizing Multiple Secularities: A Comparative Study of the Global Ismaՙili Community

Mohammad Magout
This article starts with and proceeds from empirical observations about the ways international Ismaՙili students at two institutes for Islamic studies in London draw boundaries between religion and other spheres in their everyday life. According to these observations, students from Ismaՙili communities in Iran, Tajikistan, and Syria tend to make more explicit distinctions between a religious domain and a secular one in comparison with their Khoja coreligionists of East African descent. In order to explain...

“Islamic Civilization” as an Aspect of Secularization in Turkish Islamic Thought

Katerina Dalacoura
The idea of an “Islamic civilization” emerged in the very late period of the Ottoman Empire in the context of complex and multidimensional modernization and secularization processes. Enunciated by the Young Ottomans in the 1870s and gaining prominence in the time of Sultan Abdülhamid II, Islamic civilization was conceived, at least in part, as a counterpoint to European and other civilizations. Although both its proponents and opponents assume that the religion of Islam lies at...

Is Prose Poetry a Conspiracy Against the Noble Qur’an? Poetics, Humans, and God in Contemporary Egypt

Samuli Schielke
There is a peculiar relationship between contemporary poetry and perspectives that are deemed to be heretical by conservative audiences. This relationship is not fully accounted for by current anthropological theories of the secular. The field of literature has been successfully studied as a secular institution – both in the sense of the differentiation of institutions as well as in the sense of the subordination of the religious to the political. Such secularity appears as a...

Validating Secularity in Islam: The Sociological Perspective of the Muslim Intellectual Rafiq al-‘Azm (1865-1925)

Florian Zemmin
Ali ‘Abd al-Raziq’s book al-Islam wa-usul al-hukm (Islam and the foundations of power), published in 1925, is conventionally considered to be the first Islamic argument for secularism in Arabic. Two decades earlier, however, Rafiq al-‘Azm had made the same core argument for the separation of religion and politics in the journal al-Manar, the mouthpiece of Islamic reformism, which would later come to fiercely attack ‘Abd al-Raziq’s secularism. This article focuses on selected writings by al-‘Azm...

The Political Regard in Medieval Islamic Thought

Neguin Yavari
Global intellectual history has attracted traction in the past decade, but the field remains focused on the modern period and the diffusion of Western political concepts, ideologies, and methodologies. This paper suggests that juxtaposing political texts from the medieval Islamic world with their Christian counterparts will allow for a better understanding of the contours of the debate on the space for politics, framed in primary sources as the perennial tug of war between religious and...

Secularity through a ‘Soft Distinction’ in the Islamic Ecumene? Adab as a Counterpoint to Shari‘a

Armando Salvatore
This article highlights a ‘soft’ distinction in the regulation of human conduct which emerged through various epochs of Islamicate history: between adab as the marker of an ethical and literary tradition, on the one hand, and the normative claims covered by shari‘a and drawing particularly on the exemplary sayings of Prophet Muhammad, the hadith corpus, on the other. Adab became a counterpoint to the hadith-shari‘a discourse by relying on non-Prophetic and, in this sense, non-divine...

Islamicate Secularities: New Perspectives on a Contested Concept

Markus Dressler, Armando Salvatore & Monika Wohlrab-Sahr
In the colonial era, new distinctions and differentiations between religious and non-religious spheres took shape within inner-Islamic discourses, partly as a product of encounters with Western knowledge. This introduction conceptualizes these distinctions and differentiations in relation to Islam, drawing on Marshall Hodgson’s concept of the Islamicate, which we employ for our heuristic notion of Islamicate secularities. It charts the paradigmatic conflicts that shape the contested fields of Islamic and secularity/secularism studies. The introduction discusses the...


Franziska Schaft
Im Rahmen einer Online Befragung wurden auf Basis eines standardisierten Fragebogens vom 22. Juli bis 21. Oktober 2017 insbesondere Mitarbeiter und Inhaber landwirtschaftlicher Betriebe gebeten, die Aktivitäten und Erfahrungen ihres Betriebes zum Thema „Gesellschaftliche Leistungen der Landwirtschaft“ darzustellen. Eine kurze Information zur Befragung und der Link zum Online Fragebogen wurde auf der Website der Praxiszeitschrift Topagrar (31. September 2017) und auf dem Blog „Bauer Willi“ (08. August 2017) veröffentlicht. Darüber hinaus wurden keine weiteren Aktivitäten...

Power, Individualism, and Collective Self Perception in the USA

Stephen Mennell
The thesis of this paper is that the key element in the shaping of the habitus of Americans has been their very long-term, virtually unbroken, experience of their country becoming more and more powerful vis-à-vis its neighbours. An increasing sense of their own powerfulness is related to the “individualism” that has so often been discussed as a key characteristic of the American “national character.” The long-term process of habitus formation has had important consequences for...

The Sociological Analysis of Ekiden, Japan’s Long-Distance Relay Road Race

Akira Ohira
This paper aims to refer to the long-distance relay road race known as ekiden, which is a Japanese invention in the history of modern sports, from a wider sociological perspective. This unique sport, which has seldom been practiced in countries other than Japan, has been widely enjoyed and supported by a large number of Japanese people regardless of sex as a competitive team sport among high-school, university, and even company teams. By looking back on...

Power, Habitus, and National Character: The Figurational Dynamics of Brexit

Michael Dunning & Jason Hughes
Most explanations that have sought to understand the “causes” of Brexit have tended to focus on the idea of a “left-behind” white working class who were exercising a protest against a liberal elite. Other approaches have cited the roles played by a broader demographic in Britain, or have identified “cleavages” between “nationalist” and “cosmopolitan” normative codes. However, such approaches typically fail to address the complexities of longer-term social processes which have been fundamental to Brexit....

State Formation, Habitus, and National Character: Elias, Bourdieu, Polanyi, and Gellner and the Case of Asylum Seekers in Ireland

Steven Loyal & Stephen Quilley
Synthesizing material derived from Norbert Elias, Pierre Bourdieu, Karl Polanyi, Max Weber, Benedict Anderson and Ernest Gellner, in Part I the concept of “national character” is delineated as a special case of “habitus” relating to the socio-spatial scale of the nation state. In relation to problems of state-formation, national character is shown to be a figurational and co-developmental function of the system of nation-states in which patterns of mutual identification and “imagined community” involve both...

Nationalistic German Gymnastic Movements and Modern Sports. Culture Between Identity and Habitus

Dieter Reicher
The idea of habitus refers to modes of thinking and feeling that are more unaware and spontaneous. This includes unacknowledged and unreflected we-feelings towards political entities like nations. In contrast, national identity politics differs from habitus-types of we-feelings. Identity politics stresses reflection and deliberate boundary-drawing. In this sense, the article suggests to distinguish habitus from “identity.” Thus, there will be the suggestion to differ modes of nationalism, too: culturally “filled” nationalism and culturally “empty” nationalism....

The Creation of Modern Denmark – A Figurational Analysis

Lars Bo Kaspersen
This paper takes its point of departure from an observation made by Norbert Elias in his book The Germans. Many (smaller) European states were confronted by Germany in various wars and conflicts and states such as Denmark suffered defeats. Following from this, Elias poses the question as to how the Danish people came to terms with this reality-shock. This paper claims that the unintended consequence of the Danish defeat was the development of a new...

Schengen and the Rosary: Catholic Religion and the Postcolonial Syndrome in Polish National Habitus

Marta Bucholc
The article discusses the formation of national habitus in Poland and its recent transformation in the postsocialist period from the perspective of Norbert Elias’s sociology of social processes. The starting point of the analysis is the action “Rosary to the Borders” (Różaniec do granic) of 2017: the article analyses the use of universal Catholic and nation-bound symbolic resources in this action referring to Elias’s symbol theory, in order to indicate the main characteristics of the...

The Culture of Distrust. On the Hungarian National Habitus

Miklós Hadas
The Hungarian national habitus is reconstructed on the basis of studying some persistently recurring structural configurations and behavioural patterns that govern everyday life from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. My main thesis is that while the structural weight of certain institutions and social groups of key importance (first of all towns and urban middle classes) is insignificant in Hungary in the Middle Ages and in the Early Modern period, other social groups (nobility,...

Greek Nationalism as a Case of Political Religion: Rituals and Sentimentality

Nicolas Demertzis & Hara Stratoudaki
In this paper, we will refer to the historical vicissitudes of the Greek national character since the 19th century signposting two main versions: an antinomic but no less unified national character characterized by internal contrasts vis-à-vis the alleged uni-dimensional canon of western rationality, on the one hand, and a clash of national habitus into two opposite national identities – two modal characters – on the other. Further on, we shall discuss the role of national...

The Uncanny: How Cultural Trauma Trumps Reason in German Israeli Scientific Collaborations

Gad Yair
Twenty years after the Holocaust, Germany and Israel signed contracts for scientific collaborations. Fifty years later, those collaborations have become an asset for science in both countries. Notwithstanding those win-win collaborations, the trauma of the Holocaust still casts a long shadow over them, creating uncanny experiences and fear. This paper reports findings from interviews with 125 Israeli scientists who have collaborated with German colleagues. It employs Freud’s analysis of the uncanny, an experience which mixes...

Is Every Turk Born a Soldier? A Historical-Processual Analysis

Onur Kınlı & İrem Özgören Kınlı
Through a historical-processual perspective, this article investigates military aspects of Turkish national character. We utilize methodological and conceptual tools developed by Norbert Elias in order to reveal peculiarities of Turkish state formation experiences. Starting our survey from early nomadic times and extending to the foundation of Turkish Republic, we seek to demonstrate the extent to which military traits are incorporated in the Turkish national character. Drawing on the conceptual framework of national habitus outlined by...

Processes of the State and Habitus Formation in Iran in the 19th and early 20th Centuries: The Socioand Psychogenesis of the Constitutional Revolution in 1906

Behrouz Alikhani
Processes of state building in Iran have been accompanied by various breaches and discontinuities with consequences for the formation of the social habitus of a great number of Iranians. A proper understanding of the Constitutional Revolution in Iran in 1906 is only possible by the introduction of a relatively long-term perspective on such processes. In this paper, the extensive historiography on the time around the Constitutional Revolution in 1906 will be integrated in a process...

State, Emotion, Authority, and National Habitus. State–Related Problems of Our Time and Methodological Discourses in Sociology and Historical Sociology

Helmut Kuzmics, Dieter Reicher & Jason Hughes
The central concerns of this HSR Special Issue – emotion, authority, and national character – are arguably among the most pressing issues facing social researchers in the current geo-political context. By contrast to the global political climate of the early 1990s – when the Eastern bloc was collapsing, when Europe was still in the euphoria of its expansion, and when a largely US-fuelled renewed wave of globalisation had not yet met with substantial nation-state resistance–...

Social Contexts in Team Formation: Why Do Independent Start-Ups and University Spin-Offs Form Teams Differently?

Scheidgen Katharina
Although the entrepreneurial team has gained increasing attention as a unit of analysis, we still do not understand much about how these teams form. Previous research has focused either on existing social relationships and their role in the search for potential team members or on criteria for selecting team members. Consequently, we do not yet understand the interplay of search and selection. Another long-neglected aspect that is being increasingly recognized in entrepreneurship research is that...

Progress and Challenges of Combating Climate Change in Indonesia. An Interview with Prof. Rachmat Witoelar, the President’s Special Envoy for Climate Change

Till Plitschka & Irendra Radjawali
ASEAS - Österreichische Zeitschrift für Südostasienwissenschaften

Editorial: Changing Socio-Natures in South-East Asia

Oliver Pye
ASEAS - Österreichische Zeitschrift für Südostasienwissenschaften

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