Concepts of Culture in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies

Pierre Hecker, Igor Johannsen

Abstract


Introducing the seventh issue of META, this editorial discusses prevalent concepts of culture in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. Different conceptualizations of culture that explicitly or implicitly contain qualitative differentiations between cultures are revisited and discussed. Bearing considerable weight in the respective disciplines, the Islam-andthe-West paradigm, the delineation of diverging cultures along ethnic lines, the equation of culture with art or religion, and the culture-as-civilization paradigm are being scrutinized. Serving as an example for the confusion and lack of clarity regarding the concept of "culture", the book The Culture of Ambiguity by the German scholar of Islamic Studies Thomas Bauer is analyzed regarding its use of the term.


Keywords


Islamic culture; Islamic civilization; Islam and the West; culture and religion; culture and art

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17192/meta.2017.7.6491

Pierre Hecker is a lecturer at the Centre for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS) at the University of Marburg, Germany. He is the author of the book Turkish Metal: Music, Meaning, and Morality in a Muslim Society and has published numerous articles on heavy metal in the Middle East. He is currently working on a new research project, funded by Stiftung Mercator and entitled 'Ne mutlu ateistim diyene': Atheism & The Politics of Culture in Contemporary Turkey. In 2016, he spent the summer semester as a visiting lecturer at the Department of Sociology at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul.

email: pierre.hecker@staff.uni-marburg.de

Igor Johannsen is a research fellow in the research network "Re-Configurations: History, Remembrance and Transformation Processes in the Middle East and North Africa" at the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS) at the University of Marburg, Germany. He received his Magister Artium in Islamic Studies, History and Political Science from the University of Hamburg in 2011, and he is a doctoral candidate at the Department for Arabic Language and Culture at the CNMS. His main fields of interest are hip hop-culture, cultural theory, Arabic history and philosophy, and the political geography of the Middle East and Islam.

email: igor.johannsen@staff.uni-marburg.de