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La religiosité féminine au sein d'un mouvement soufi d'Istanbul

English title Religious sentiment and practice among Sufi Women in contemporary Istanbul
Applicant Neubauer Khurshid Anna
Number 119131
Funding scheme Fellowships for prospective researchers
Research institution
Institut für Religionswissenschaft Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität ( - 31.03.2008 )
Zentrum Moderner Orient (01.04.2008 - )
Disciplines Ethnology
Start/End 01.10.2007 - 30.09.2008
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Keywords (5)

turkey, islam, sufism, gender, religiosity

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The purpose of my study is to describe and analyse religious sentiment and practice among women disciples of a Sufi master in Istanbul. This research is based on several months of participant observation among followers of Cemalnur Sargut, a female spiritual master in the Rifai tradition. My study attends to neglected area in the literature, for though much has been written about Sufism is general, rare are the ethnographic accounts of the daily lives of persons following the Sufi path in Turkey, and even more so when it comes to women. The main aim of this research is to reflect on the reasons these women have for choosing to become followers of a Sufi master. Most of them come from secularised families. Why are they turning to religion and why do they choose this group in particular? My hypothesis is that we have to look carefully at what this particular religious movement offers them, both in terms of the content of the doctrines it proposes and in terms of the social relations open to women through this group. I will of course pay close attention to the conception these women have of femininity and the specificities of women’s religious experience. These women have a strong sense of their own particularity and special role as women. I will analyse their conceptions of masculine and feminine as principles that are found in both men and women, and how these conceptions are related to their representations of real-live women and their roles in society. What is their attitude towards the strict segregation of men and women in everyday life? How important do they consider marriage and maternity in the life of a woman and in her ritual progression? Turning to social relations, I will first concentrate on the relations between the disciples themselves. Do they compete for acceptance by the master? How is difference and criticism handled in this kind of group characterized by a strong common ideal? I will also examine the master-disciple relationship. All Sufi groups rely on the master-discipline paradigm, a central part of religious practice. As most accounts reveal that discipleship is experienced as empowering by the disciples despite the fact that it requires complete submission and self-denial, I will explore the intimate experience made possible by this powerful social form.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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