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ERIC Number: ED513167
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 557
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1092-9120-9
Pious Science: The Gulen Community and the Making of a Conservative Modernity in Turkey
Arslan, Berna
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Santa Cruz
This dissertation explores the ways in which the Islamic Fethullah Gulen community engages with science as a response to globalization and modernity. Framed with the theoretical discussions on multiple modernities, it investigates how the community contests for hegemony in the field of science against the project of secular modernity, and endeavors to construct a project of "conservative modernity". This new project of modernity is based on the blurring of the boundaries between the dichotomies of classical modernity, such as science and religion, the modern and the traditional and the sacred and the secular, in seeking to disarticulate the secular from conceptions of science and modernity. The research emphasizes that while embracing a modern Islamic identity the community aims at "Islamizing science" and "modernity" rather than ""modernizing" Islam". The research combines two different methodologies: (1) ethnographic fieldwork, which was conducted in two science schools of the community--one having predominantly male and the other predominantly female students--a public science school and a public school for preachers and prayers; and (2) discourse analysis of the community media on science and modernity. The fieldwork was conducted during the scholarly year of 2004-2005 in Turkey. The data gathered suggests that the community simultaneously teaches science and Islamic conservative morality in the classroom on a global scale. Thus, it sacralizes science education and the practices related to it. Overall, while engaging with science, the community stakes a claim to modernity; builds a pious scientific elite who are loyal to Turkish Islamic values; and communicates with the state and political actors on a seemingly apolitical ground. The research provides an analysis on a new approach in modern Islam, one that distances itself from the conventional field of politics, and rather engages with everyday cultural relations. This new religious politics is focused on the diffusion of Islamic conservative values into the socio-cultural landscape of society and the "re-enchantment" of the institutions and conceptual frameworks of modernity. The findings of this research identify gender politics of the community and its disciplinary practices in the schools as the major barriers to its cultural liberalization and the main limitations of its "conservative modernity project". [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Turkey
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A