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Title:Popular Islam in Tunisia: a regional cults analysis
Author:Schilder, KeesISNI
Series:Research reports
City of publisher:Leiden
Publisher:African Studies Centre
Geographic term:Tunisia
External link:https://hdl.handle.net/1887/448
Abstract:This study is about cults in northwestern Tunisia. A cult is defined as a religious grouping which exhibits several distinctive characteristics: the number of participants is limited, exclusivism is absent, the beliefs and practices are biased on one or several specific supernatural beings, and it is a religious subsystem. The study consists of two parts. The first describes and analyses a maraboutic cult whose ritual centre is situated in Balta. Balta and its cult are introduced in chapter 1. The second chapter is an application of the regional cult analysis to this cult in relation to formal Islam. The interrelationships of the cult with nationwide demographic, economic, and political developments in Tunisia during the past century are dealt with in chapter 3. The second part of the study focuses on a Sufi cult which belongs to the Islamic mystical order of the Rahmaniya and which is situated in the town of El Kef. Chapter 4 is an ethnographic introduction of the Rahmaniya cult and an examination of its position towards popular Islam and formal Islam. The most important nonreligious, contextual factors of the Rahmaniya cult are analysed in chapter 5. Finally, several theoretical implications for the analysis of regional cults are elaborated in the conclusion.