Civic Virtue and Religious Reason: An Islamic Counterpublic

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Excerpt From Essay

"Since the rise of modernization theory in the 1960s up through present concerns with globalization, a growing body of anthropological and sociological scholarship has explored the impact of modern media technologies on religious practice. Scholars have frequently approached this topic in terms of a polarity between what are assumed to be two contradictory processes: the deliberative and the disciplinary. Analyses focusing on the deliberative aspect have emphasized the possibilities of argument, contestation, and dialogue that have been afforded by the advent of universal modern literacy, the diffusion of printed texts, and the operation of electronic mass media. Following conventional histories of the Protestant revolution, this scholarship has given particular emphasis to the role of print and other media technologies in propelling a democratization of religious authority. The new object-like quality of religion and the universal accessibility of religious texts, it is argued, transform ritual speech into individual assertion, oral mnemonics into analytical memory. Equipped with these newly found sophistications and the autonomous reasoning that they facilitate, a growing number of individuals engage with and revise the religious traditions they have inherited."

"Civic Virtue and Religious Reason: An Islamic Counterpublic," Charles Hirschkind (3).

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