Muslim saints in the age of neoliberalism

TitleMuslim saints in the age of neoliberalism
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsB.F. Soares
EditorB. Weiss
Secondary TitleProducing African futures : ritual and reproduction in a neoliberal age
Pagination79 - 105
Date Published2004///
Place PublishedLeiden
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsIslam, Mali, market economy, saints

Drawing on research in two different Islamic religious centres and among three lineages of Islamic religious specialists in Mali, this article traces transformations in the nature of religious authority that have accompanied the neoliberal reforms of the last two decades. The author examines some of the ways in which the world of commodities has come to permeate the largely ritualized 'visits' with or 'pilgrimages' to exceptional Muslim religious leaders considered saints. He argues that certain processes of commodification - the exchange of blessings and prayers for commodities, the proliferation of personal and impersonal Islamic religious commodities - have intensified around saints in the neoliberal era. He further argues that such saints have become more privatized religious figures - effectively free-floating sanctifiers - in a religious economy that has come to be more like a market. Not only have these saints been able to outlast secular political regimes, but they also seem to have overcome some of the uncertainties of the market and even appear to offer ordinary people the means of doing so. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]

IR handle/ Full text URL
Citation Key1144