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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Muslim saints in the age of neoliberalism
Author:Soares, Benjamin F.ISNI
Book title:Producing African futures: Ritual and reproduction in a neoliberal age
Editor:Weiss, Brad
City of publisher:Leiden
Geographic term:Mali
market economy
Abstract:Drawing on research in two different Islamic religious centres and among three lineages of Islamic religious specialists in Mali, this article traces transformations in the nature of religious authority that have accompanied the neoliberal reforms of the last two decades. The author examines some of the ways in which the world of commodities has come to permeate the largely ritualized 'visits' with or 'pilgrimages' to exceptional Muslim religious leaders considered saints. He argues that certain processes of commodification - the exchange of blessings and prayers for commodities, the proliferation of personal and impersonal Islamic religious commodities - have intensified around saints in the neoliberal era. He further argues that such saints have become more privatized religious figures - effectively free-floating sanctifiers - in a religious economy that has come to be more like a market. Not only have these saints been able to outlast secular political regimes, but they also seem to have overcome some of the uncertainties of the market and even appear to offer ordinary people the means of doing so. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]