Secularism Beyond the State: The 'State' and the 'Market' in Islamist Imagination

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24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper will build on my ethnographic engagement with the Jamaat-e-Islami to explore aspects of a shift in Islamist practice and imagination from the ‘state’ as the inspiration for projects and movements to the ‘market’. In doing so I hope to investigate not just what this might tell us about Islamism in Pakistan, but also about the ability of the state to manage religion more generally. My aim is three-fold: first, to record the particular modalities of changes within Islamism in Pakistan; second, to show that these shifts betray a closer alignment between the global political imagination and Islamism than has previously been acknowledged; and third, in discussing these issues, to explore the implications of the idea of market as an important contender to the dominance of the idea of the state in political mobilizations. While recent discussions about secularism, following Talal Asad, have tended to focus on the disciplinary force exerted by the state, this paper suggests that the market has emerged as a potentially more significant, though under-recognized, disciplinary force.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-564
Number of pages30
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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