Beyond the Stream: Islam and Society in a West African Town

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University of California Press, 1992 - Côte d'Ivoire - 258 pages
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Robert Launay has been observing the changing religious practices of the Dyula, a Muslim community in West Africa, for more than a decade. In Beyond the Stream, he examines the ways in which this religious and ethnic minority group living on the fringes of the Muslim world maintains its ties to the universal Islamic tradition while adapting everyday religious practices to the local context. Through the lens of this specific community, Launay elucidates the interaction between fundamental Islamic beliefs, anchored historically in the Arab Middle East, and the continually changing ways that Islam is lived, wherever it is professed.

By focusing on the tension between "particular" and "universal"--on how a given religious morality must function simultaneously within a tightly knit community and a larger global arena--Beyond the Stream addresses issues of broad concern to the anthropology of Islam and to world religions generally.

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About the author (1992)

Robert Launay is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University and author of Traders without Trade (1982).

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