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'CHARISMA AND BROTHERHOOD' REVISITED: MASS-MEDIATED FORMS OF SPIRITUALITY IN URBAN MALI

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The case study of the Muslim movement Ansar Dine and its charismatic leader Sharif Haidara illustrates that the debate on, and public significance of, Islam has been shifting in recent years and how broadcast media played into this process. Haidara's extensive use of (mostly aural) media allows him to combine traditional elements of religious authority with new credentials. His public prominence and success suggests that broadcasting contributes to the rationalization of religious genres in a double sense. The dissemination of religious knowledge on broadcast media works through the standardization of genres and styles of religious argument. It contributes to a process of objectification in the course of which 'religion' becomes the object of individual scrutiny and identity construction. But this does not indicate a shift towards a more rational character of religious debate. Haidara's persuasiveness resides to a major extent in his capacity to captivate listeners' aesthetic sensibilities. Popular reception of Haidara's teachings evidences the significance of religious debate in secular state politics. It illustrates some ways in which consumption of religious broadcasts contributes to a partial re-sacralization of everyday experience.

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