Youth and Identity in Text and Context: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Islamic Fundamentalism among Young Tajik Men
Sophie Roche and Philipp Reichmuth
The goal of the project is to investigate the ideological choices and practices of Tajik Muslim young men by combining an anthropological approach that focuses on their daily life and self-expression with a textual approach to the sets of ideologies they choose from. This is motivated by our belief that research needs to move away from an institution-oriented perspective on Islam and move towards a study of Muslims and that such a study should necessarily take a double approach. On the one hand, the study must focus on Islamist texts—in the present project on the “Mujahid’s Handbook” as a prime example—and analyze their sources and discursive context. On the other hand, it is imperative to investigate social practice by conducting field research with young Tajiks who have been identifying with the texts’ ideological content. By working with those young people who have been using, spreading and discussing such texts, we can thus investigate the sociological questions regarding their choice of ideology, its transmission and its role in their life on solid textual ground.