Aestheticised Rituals and (Non-)Engagement with Norms in Contemporary Turkey

A Contribution to Discussions on Piety and Ethics

in Anthropology of the Middle East
Author:
Erol SaglamUniversity of London saglamerol@gmail.com

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Drawing on an ethnographic research in some rural communities of Trabzon, Turkey, this article provides insights about the diversity of Islamic pieties and their relations to religious norms. An exploration of everyday Islamic practices in the area demonstrates how piety can take peculiar forms within which norms are both publicly and socially upheld and yet also hollowed out. Among Muslim men of ‘the Valley’ in Trabzon, piety emerges as an aggregate of reiterative practices exterior to the pious self. Highlighting the aestheticised and ritualised state of these engagements with Islam in the Turkish context allows discussion of the relationships among practices of piety, pious subjectivities, and ethics.

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