In both the social sciences and the humanities, current scholarship typically examines speech and social action as separate entities. But do they truly act in isolation? In Narrative Social Structure, Recep Senturk challenges the prevailing understandings of speech and social action, of actor and organization. Using the example of the hadith transmission network, Senturk demonstrates the synergy between speech and action in producing social reality. Hadith, a brief narrative about the Prophet Muhammad transmitted across generations by a chain of narrators, represents the longest recorded social network presently kwn to sociologists and historians. This book presents the first attempt by a sociologist to unearth the long hadith transmission network from ancient historical sources and analyze it using the most recent qualitative and quantitative analytical tools. It demonstrates how both synchronic and diachronic analyses uncover the structure of generational and inter-generational discourse networks used in the process of identity and authority formation. The author concludes that these networks of narrative are constantly at work in the world. Even if we are t aware of it, we are always part of them.
Recep Senturk is Associate Professor of Sociology and Research Fellow at the Center for Islamic Studies (ISAM) in Istanbul, Turkey.