On Institutional Pluralization and the Political Genealogies of Post-Yugoslav Islam

in Religion and Society
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  • 1 Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (MPI-MMG) walton@mmg.mpg.de
  • 2 University of Strathclyde piro.rexhepi@gmail.com
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Abstract

Over recent decades, Islamic institutions and Muslim communities in the successor nation-states of former Yugoslavia have taken shape against a variegated political and historical topography. In this article, we examine the discourses and politics surrounding Islamic institutions in four post-Yugoslav nation-states: Kosovo, Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Our analysis moves in two directions. On the one hand, we illuminate the historical legacies and institutional ties that unite Muslims across these four contexts. As we argue, this institutional history continues to mandate a singular, hegemonic model of Sunni-Hanafi Islam that pre-emptively delegitimizes Muslim communities outside of its orbit. On the other hand, we also attend to the contrasting national politics of Islam in each of our four contexts, ranging from Islamophobic anxiety and suspicion to multiculturalism, from a minority politics of differentiation to hegemonic images of ethno-national religiosity.

Contributor Notes

JEREMY F. WALTON leads the Max Planck Research Group, “Empires of Memory: The Cultural Politics of Historicity in Former Habsburg and Ottoman Cities,” at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (MPI-MMG). His first book, Muslim Civil Society and the Politics of Religious Freedom in Turkey (2017), is an ethnographic exploration of the relationship among Muslim civil society organizations, state institutions, and secularism in contemporary Turkey. E-mail: walton@mmg.mpg.de

PIRO REXHEPI holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Strathclyde. His research focuses on decoloniality, sexuality, and Islam. His recent work on racism and borders along the Balkan Refugee Route has been published in a range of mediums in and out of academia, including the International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Critical Muslims, and the Guardian, among others. E-mail: piro.rexhepi@gmail.com

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