Skip to main content
×
×
Home
  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: April 2017

6 - “Structural Adjustment Islam” and the Religious Economy in Neoliberal Mali

Summary

This chapter analyzes some of the dramatic and much-discussed changes in modalities of religious expression, including ways of being Muslim and modes of belonging in contemporary Mali, a secular state (laïc on the French model) whose population is overwhelmingly Muslim. I do not directly address the 2012 Islamist takeover of northern Mali that received considerable international media attention, particularly when Islamists destroyed Muslim saints’ tombs in places like Timbuktu, but rather broader transformations in relation to which those developments must be understood. This is part of a larger ongoing effort inspired by the work of Max Weber in such works as Economy and Society (1978) as well as some of Weber's interpreters to grapple with how “religion” and “economy” intersect and influence each other over time. Religion and economy – abstractions for understanding religious and economic practices – have long been deeply intertwined in this part of West Africa, perhaps most notably in the direct involvement of Muslim scholars and religious leaders in such economic activities as the precolonial trans-Saharan trade in gold, salt, and slaves that spanned centuries (see Lydon 2009). What I want to do here is build upon some of my earlier analysis of religion and economy in Mali to understand religion in the current era.

However, I would like to emphasize the need to proceed cautiously in any such discussion of religion and economy. Rather than treating religion, as in some older models, as a mere function of political economy, a form of adaptation or resistance, or culture, for example, in reified, static notions of “African Islam” or African “traditional” religion, as I argue, one must analyze religion – understood as discourses and practices encompassing modalities of religious expression – as a heterogeneous field in which there is considerable debate, contestation, and transformation. Arguing against equally simplistic and teleological models of Islamization, reform, and totalizing notions of ethical self-fashioning, I draw on research on transformations in religious practice to propose new ways of thinking about religion that foreground how religious practice has changed in the context of Mali's neoliberal reforms.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Religion and the Morality of the Market
  • Online ISBN: 9781316888704
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316888704
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *
×
Ahmad, Irfan. 2013. “Anthropology of Islam: History, Culture and Power.” Indian Economic and Social History Review 50(4): 495–509.
Bourdarias, Françoise. 2008. “L'imam, le soufi et Satan: religion et politique à Bamako (Mali).” In Les constructions locales du politique, edited by Bourdarias, F. and Bertheleu, H., 115–139. Tours: Presses Universitaires de France.
Bourdarias, Françoise. 2009. “Constructions religieuses du politique aux confins de Bamako (Mali).” Civilisations 58(2): 21–40.
Comaroff, Jean, and Comaroff, John L.. 1999. “Occult Economies and the Violence of Abstraction: Notes from the South African Postcolony.” American Ethnologist 26: 279–303.
Davis, Kimberley. 2002. “Preaching to the Converted: Charismatic Leaders, Performances and Electronic Media in Contemporary Islamic Communities.” MA thesis, Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia University, Montreal.
De Jorio, Rosa. 2016. Cultural Heritage in Mali in the Neoliberal Era. Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press.
Dumestre, Gérard, and Touré, Seydou. 2007. Maléfices et manigances: chroniques maliennes. Paris: Karthala.
Ganti, Tejaswini. 2014. “Neoliberalism.” Annual Review of Anthropology 43: 89–104.
Gellner, Ernest. 1981. Muslim Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Green, Nile. 2011. Bombay Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Green, Nile. 2014. Terrains of Exchange. London: Hurst.
Haenni, Patrick. 2005. L'islam de marché: L'autre révolution conservatrice. Paris: Seuil.
Holder, Gilles. 2009. “‘Maouloud 2006’, de Bamako à Tombouctou: Entre réislamisation de la nation et laïcité de l’État: la construction d'un espace public religieux au Mali.” In L'islam, nouvel espace public en Afrique, edited by Holder, Gilles, 237–289. Paris: Karthala.
Holder, Gilles. 2012. “Chérif Ousmane Madani Haïdara et l'association islamique Ançar Dine: un réformisme malien populaire en quête d'autonomie.” Cahiers d’études africaines 206–207 (2): 389–425.
Jones, Carla. 2010. “Materializing Piety: Gendered Anxieties about Faithful Consumption in Contemporary Urban Indonesia.” American Ethnologist 37(4): 617–637.
Kitiarsa, Pattiana. 2010. “Toward a Sociology of Religious Commodification.” In The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion, edited by Turner, Bryan S., 563–583. Oxford: Blackwell.
Lehmann, David. 2010. “An Idea, a Tribe, and Their Critics: Rational Choice and the Sociology of Religion.” In The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion, edited by Turner, Bryan S., 181–200. Oxford: Blackwell.
Lydon, Ghislaine. 2009. On Trans-Saharan Trails: Islamic Law, Trade Networks, and Cross-Cultural Exchange in Nineteenth-Century Western Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Masquelier, Adeline. 2016. “‘The Mouthpiece of an Entire Generation’: Hip-Hop, Truth, and Islam in Niger.” Muslim Youth and the 9/11 Generation, edited by Masquelier, Adeline and Soares, Benjamin, 213–238. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
Mirowski, Philip. 2009. “Postface: Defining Neoliberalism.” In The Road from Mount Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective, edited by Mirowski, Philip and Plehwe, Dieter, 417–455. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Mirowski, Philip, and Plehwe, Dieter (eds.). 2009. The Road from Mount Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Obadia, Lionel, and Wood, Donald C. (eds.). 2011. The Economics of Religion: Anthropological Approaches. Bingley, UK: Emerald Books.
Osella, Filippo, and Osella, Caroline. 2009. “Muslim Entrepreneurs in Public Life between India and the Gulf: Making Good and Doing Good.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15(S1): 202–221.
Roy, Olivier. 2004. Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah. New York: Columbia University Press.
Rudnyckyj, Daromir. 2010. Spiritual Economies: Islam, Globalization, and the Afterlife of Development. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Schulz, Dorothea E. 2006a. “Morality, Community, Publicness: Shifting Terms of Public Debate in Mali.” In Religion, Media, and the Public Sphere, edited by Meyer, Birgit and Moors, Annelies, 132–151. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Schulz, Dorothea E.. 2006b. “Promises of (Im)mediate Salvation: Islam, Broadcast Media, and the Remaking of Religious Experience in Mali.” American Ethnologist 33(2): 210–229.
Soares, Benjamin. 2004a. “Muslim Saints in the Age of Neoliberalism.” In Producing African Futures: Ritual and Reproduction in a Neoliberal Age, edited by Weiss, Brad, 79–105. Leiden: Brill.
Soares, Benjamin. 2004b. “Islam and Public Piety in Mali.” In Public Islam and the Common Good, edited by Salvatore, Armando and Eickelman, Dale F., 205–226. Leiden: Brill.
Soares, Benjamin. 2005. Islam and the Prayer Economy: History and Authority in a Malian Town. Edinburgh/Ann Arbor: Edinburgh University Press/the University of Michigan Press.
Soares, Benjamin. 2006. “Islam in Mali in the Neoliberal Era.” African Affairs 104(418): 77–95.
Soares, Benjamin. 2007. “Saint and Sufi in Neoliberal Mali.” In Sufism and the “Modern” in Islam, edited by van Bruinessen, Martin and Howell, Julia, 77–91. London: I. B. Tauris.
Soares, Benjamin. 2010. “‘Rasta’ Sufis and Muslim Youth Culture in Mali.” In Being Young and Muslim: New Cultural Politics in the Global South and North, edited by Herrera, Linda and Bayat, Asef, 495–509. New York: Oxford University Press.
Soares, Benjamin. 2012. “On the Recent Mess in Mali.” Anthropology Today 28(5): 1–2.
Soares, Benjamin. 2013. “Islam in Mali since the 2012 Coup.” Fieldsights – Hot Spots, Cultural Anthropology Online, June 10. www.culanth.org/fieldsights/321-islam-in-mali-since-the-2012-coup.
Soares, Benjamin. 2016a. “Malian Youth between Sufism and Satan.” In Muslim Youth and the 9/11 Generation, edited by Masquelier, Adeline and Soares, Benjamin, 169–188. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
Soares, Benjamin. 2016b. “Reflections on Muslim-Christian Encounters in West Africa.” Africa 86(4): 673–697.
Soares, Benjamin. 2016c. “New Muslim Public Figures in West Africa.” In Writing Boards and Blackboards: Islamic Education in Africa, edited by Launay, Robert, 268–284. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Turner, Bryan S. 2010. “Religion in Post-Secular Society.” In The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion, edited by Turner, Bryan S., 649–667. Oxford: Blackwell.
Turner, Bryan S.. 2012. “Post-Secular Society: Consumerism and the Democratization of Religion.” In The Post-Secular in Question: Religion in Contemporary Society, edited by Gorski, Philip S., Kim, David Kyuman, Torpey, John, and VanAntwerpen, Jonathan, 135–158. New York: New York University Press.
van der Veer, Peter. 2012. “Market and Money: A Critique of Rational Choice Theory.” Social Compass 59(2): 183–192.
Weber, Max. 1978. Economy and Society. 2 vols. Berkeley: University of California Press.