Politics of Piety by Saba Mahmood

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The book I chose to read for the final paper was Politics of Piety by Saba Mahmood. This book although interesting was very difficult to follow. Mahmood basically broke the book into two parts. The first part goes into detail of the Islamic women’s mosque movement in Egypt. Mahmood explains her 2 years of “field work” experience and also critically analyzes Islam women in the Islamic culture after 9/11.The second part of the book focuses on the ethics, autonomy, and piety of the women in this culture. Throughout the entire book Mahmood references Foucault which I found really interesting showing his influence and ideals from his own research. The main idea I think Mahmood is trying to get across is stated in the epilogue of Politics of Piety: “…This attempt at comprehension offers the slim hope in this embattled and imperious climate, one in which feminist politics runs the danger of being reduced to a rhetorical display of the placard of Islam’s abuses, that analysis as a mode of conversation, rather than mastery, can yield a vision of coexistence that does not require making others life worlds extinct or provisional.” (Mahmood, 2005, p.199) In retrospect I found that Politics of Piety relates to the concepts of gender and the law, legal pluralism, and finally autonomy and self-determination that we learned throughout the semester. Gender and law are a big part of Politics and Piety. The women’s supposed role to gain any autonomy in this movement need to be subordinate to their female virtues in order for them to gain a more public role in their political and religious life. (Mahmood, 2005, p.6).My impression of this movement is that women involved in Islamic politics and religion are still governed by a patriarchal authority. A... ... middle of paper ... ... influence the laws that are made in regard with these concepts in mind. Gender and law is the whole mosque movement and how Islamic women today are slowly changing and gaining some power. Legal pluralism is all the systems in place and their influence of the Islamic women. Autonomy and Self- Determination is the rights, choices, and freedoms these women are gaining through this movement and the changes after 9/11. Works Cited Foucault, M. (1995). Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison (2nd Vintage Books ed.). New York: Vintage Books. Mahmood, S. (2005). Politics of piety: the Islamic revival and the feminist subject. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Merry, S. E. (1988). Legal Pluralism. Law & Society Review, 869-896. Steinbrich, S. (1990). The Social and Legal Position of Lyela Women (Burkina Fas). Journal of Legal Pluralism, 30-31, 869-894.

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