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In Search Of God'S Hand: On Masculinity And Religion

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on religious ideologies that are wedded to the idea that religion should be 'proper'-i.e. modern, comprehensive and also categorically distinctive as religion. It discusses each ideal through a single ethnographic example, from India and South Africa respectively. The chapter focuses on three aspects of contemporary ideals of masculinity: the ethics of religious violence, performance of public virtue and the imposition of domestic order. The chapter draws on a broader historical and social universe beyond the rather ethnocentric and often highly normative frames employed in much of the academic discussion on masculinity. It explains the ideal of the warrior, who is expected to violate the norms of everyday life and maybe his own ethical norms in order to perform a higher and more general task of protecting his religious community. The chapter illustrates the influence of the global Muslim piety movement, Tablighi Jamaat, in contemporary South Africa.

Keywords: India; masculinity; post-apartheid South Africa; religion; religious warriors; Tablighi Jamaat



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