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Religion and Power in Morocco cover
  • ISBN: 9780300053760
  • ISBN10: 0300053762

Religion and Power in Morocco

by Munson, Henry

  • List Price: $45.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publish date: 09/01/1993
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In this book a well-known anthropologist traces the evolution of the political role of Islam in Morocco from the seventeenth century to present times. Integrating history and anthropology in a way very different from Clifford Geertz's famous study of 1968, Henry Munson organizes his book around a series of conflicts that have exemplified the myth of the righteous man of God who dares to defy an unjust sultan. Grounding his book in the relevant indigenous texts and on two years of ethnographic fieldwork, Munson suggests a more solidly substantiated alternative to the "social history of the imagination" advocated by Geertz, and he illustrates the consequences of neglecting the historical and symbolic contexts of events by examining Geertz's interpretation of the conflict between the seventeenth-century scholar-cum-saint al-Yusi and the sultan Mulay Ismail. Munson argues that the religious facets of power cannot be understood without reference to factors like force and fear, and he suggests that anthropological analyses of "sacred kingship" in Morocco have often been distorted by their neglect of such matters - and by their failure to distinguish between the religious rhetoric of rulers and the religious beliefs of those they rule. Munson examines the social historical roots of the fundamentalist opposition to the regime of King Hassan II, who has reigned since 1961, and the reasons for its relative weakness when compared with its counterparts in Iran and Algeria. He shows to what extent Moroccan fundamentalism is rooted in classical Islamic notions of "just rule" and to what extent it represents an invented tradition similar to recent forms of politicized revivalism in other religions.
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