Islam Observed: Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia

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University of Chicago Press, Aug 15, 1971 - Religion - 136 pages
"In four brief chapters," writes Clifford Geertz in his preface, "I have attempted both to lay out a general framework for the comparative analysis of religion and to apply it to a study of the development of a supposedly single creed, Islam, in two quite contrasting civilizations, the Indonesian and the Moroccan."

Mr. Geertz begins his argument by outlining the problem conceptually and providing an overview of the two countries. He then traces the evolution of their classical religious styles which, with disparate settings and unique histories, produced strikingly different spiritual climates. So in Morocco, the Islamic conception of life came to mean activism, moralism, and intense individuality, while in Indonesia the same concept emphasized aestheticism, inwardness, and the radical dissolution of personality. In order to assess the significance of these interesting developments, Mr. Geertz sets forth a series of theoretical observations concerning the social role of religion.


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Excellent so far... if only the last chapter were available online somewhere. I was really hoping to read Geertz's conclusions.

Review: Islam Observed: Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia

User Review  - Matt - Goodreads

His insight into the diversity of a particular religious bloc across various cultures is enormously important, especially now. Plus, it's Geertz, whose writing is as wonderfully put together as it is informative. Read full review


Two Countries Two Cultures
The Classical Styles
The Scripturalist Interlude
The Struggle for the Real
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About the author (1971)

Clifford Geertz, an American anthropologist, is known for his studies of Islam in Indonesia and Morocco and of the peasant economy of Java. But he is also the leading exponent of an orientation in the social sciences called "interpretation". Social life, according to this view, is organized in terms of symbols whose meaning we must grasp if we are to understand that organization and formulate its principles. Interpretative explanations focus on what institutions, actions, customs, and so on mean to the people involved. What emerges from studies of this kind are not laws of society, and certainly not statistical relationships, but rather interpretations, that is to say, understanding. Geertz taught for 10 years at the University of Chicago and has been the Harold F. Linder professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

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