Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster „Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration“

Shari'a, tradition and the state in Kyrgyzstan

8. März 2018

Competing repertoires of order - the case of mortuary rituals

In Central Asian Kyrgyzstan, shari'a and tradition are best understood as two interrelated répertoires of order. Historically, they have developed alongside each other and the population has learned to reclassify social practices or local institutions that might be regarded as unlawful or illegal by Islamic clergy on the one hand or the state on the other by reinterpreting them 'according to custom'. I refer to this process as 'customization'. In this lecture, I will use the example of elaborate gift-exchange practices during mortuary rituals in order to show how imams, state officials and the local population try to grapple with the disputed social practice of giving large carpets during funerals and mortuary rituals that is considered against shari'a and also contradicting new state regulations. Nevertheless, gift exchange continues and has even intensified in the last decade. This lecture investigates emic local understandings of shari'a and tradition and positions these in the context of a changing social and economic environment where formerly Russian and Soviet state practices aimed at curbing 'irrational' local behaviour and where nowadays remittances from Central Asian labour migrants fuel the local ritual economy.

Do, 8. März 2018, 10:00-13:00 Uhr
Salle des étudiants de l’IISMM, 1er étage, 96 bd Raspail, 75006 Paris


Prof. Dr. Judith Beyer judith.beyer[at]uni-konstanz.de

Séminaire de l’équipe Anthropologie comparative des sociétés et cultures musulmanes (LAS), Paris