Journal article (OA) / Everyday Religiosity among Contemporary Muslims in Kerala

Filippo Osella and Benjamin Soares. ‘Religiosity and its Others: Lived Islam in West Africa and South India’. Social Anthropology 28, no. 2 (2020): 466-81.

Abstract: Drawing on research about settings in South India and West Africa characterised by significant religious diversity, we reflect on the ways in which everyday religiosity among contemporary Muslims is constituted through difference and contestation.

Our cases are from two ostensibly secular states – India and Nigeria – both former British colonies where secularism has been interrogated over the past few decades.

In our focus on what we call ‘lived’ Islam, we pay attention not only to intra‐Muslim differences but also to how religiosity is formed and experienced through engagement and encounters with Others, whether religious, ethnic or political, both locally and globally.

Everyday religiosity in such settings as South India and Nigeria emerges at the interstices of such encounters where Muslims often seek to draw boundaries at the same time as they fashion themselves – in lifestyle, sociality, aesthetics – in relation to various Others.

As we argue, such ethnographic cases with their comparative angle underscore the importance of studying religiosity in heterogeneous settings so as to explode the flawed, idealised sense of wholeness that emerges in some of the literature on the anthropology of one religious tradition or another with such traditions sometimes represented as deriving from self‐contained theologies.

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Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup

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