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Providing a wealth of empirical research on the everyday practise of Islam in post-Soviet Central Asia, this book gives a detailed account of how Islam is understood and practised among ordinary Muslims in the region, focusing in particular on Uzbekistan. It shows how individuals negotiate understandings of Islam as an important marker for identity, grounding for morality and as a tool for everyday problem-solving in the economically harsh, socially insecure and politically tense atmosphere of present-day Uzbekistan. Presenting a detailed case-study of the city of Bukhara that focuses upon the local forms of Sufism and saint veneration, the book shows how Islam facilitates the pursuit of more modest goals of agency and belonging, as opposed to the utopian illusions of fundamentalist Muslim doctrines.
Maria Elisabeth Louw is an anthropologist currently based at the Department of Anthropology and Ethnography, University of Aarhus, Denmark. She has done extensive fieldwork in Central Asia, focusing in particular on everyday religion, morality and politics in the context of post-Soviet social change.