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Performing Piety and Islamic Modernity in a Turkish Village

Kimberly Hart
Ethnology
Vol. 46, No. 4 (Fall, 2007), pp. 289-304
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20456633
Page Count: 16
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Abstract

In western Turkey, villagers express a vision of Islamic modernity by practicing hayır (good deeds), and spiritual and economic practices which allow for informal redistributions of wealth. These redistributions address anxieties over emerging social and economic inequalities. Since the late 1980s, villagers have experienced economic growth through work in a women's carpet weaving co-operative. This has made life more comfortable, but the villagers worry that in has led to greed and isolation from what they call "humanity." By addressing these concerns with acts of sharing, they perform piety and express love for the community, while also celebrating their newfound prosperity. Connections between spiritual and economic practices show that Islamic capitalism, which takes into account the need for social justice while promoting economic development, is a vision of an ideal Islamic society. Local expressions of spirituality and nationally based political movements are connected in ways which demonstrate that some people are attempting to create an alternative to neoliberal capitalism.

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