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Ismaʿili ModernGlobalization and Identity in a Muslim Community$
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Jonah Steinberg

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834077

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807899458_steinberg

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Introduction: Beyond Territoriality

Introduction: Beyond Territoriality

(p.1) Introduction: Beyond Territoriality
Ismaʿili Modern

Jonah Steinberg

University of North Carolina Press

This book begins with a discussion of the organizational dynamics of the Isma'ili Muslim community, which raise important questions about the nature of citizenship and political identity at this moment in history. The questions present a basic challenge to theoretical and popular understandings of the state, of globalization, and of Islam. They point to a transformation in the relationship between territory and allegiance, a fundamental shift in the possibilities for sociopolitical organization. The Isma'ilis are widely scattered across the planet, but their community's institutional infrastructure is highly centralized and provides for subjects a vast array of services, symbols, and social spaces. Isma'ili institutions penetrate deeply into participants' lives; they suffuse the fabric of their daily activities. In this way, the complex of Isma'ili forms, processes, and structures seems to represent a new possibility for transnational social organization, for sociopolitical participation beyond the nation-state, for citizenship without territory.

Keywords:   organizational dynamics, Isma'ili Muslim community, nature of citizenship, political identity, globalization, Islam

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