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Nelson, Matthew J. (2014) ''Ilm and the Individual: Islamic Education and the Production of Political Ideas in Pakistan.' In: Jeffrey, Robin and Sen, Ronojoy, (eds.), Being Muslim in South Asia: Diversity and Daily Life. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 161-180.

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Scholars with an interest in the formation of religious ideas in Pakistan—including, especially, ideas about the management of sectarian and doctrinal difference—often stress the role of educational institutions. This largely conceptual chapter uses an account of various educational institutions (both state and non-state) to move away from an ‘institutional’ emphasis in favour of an appreciation for the ideational autonomy of Muslim ‘individuals’. I argue that doctrinal expression should be seen as partly demand-driven, drawing attention to the ways in which individuals cobble together their own ideas from cross-cutting educational influences. I draw on a truncated history of educational options in South Asia as well as numerous interviews conducted in Pakistan. My argument challenges prevailing approaches to the formation of religious-cum-political ideas, moving away from an emphasis on the discursive parameters of Islam or the determinative influence of formal institutions toward a deeper appreciation for the relative autonomy of individual Muslim agents.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Pakistan, education, religious education, schools, acquisition of beliefs, religious ideas
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISBN: 9780198092063
Copyright Statement: © 2014 Oxford University Press. This is the accepted version of the chapter in Being Muslim in South Asia: Diversity and Daily Life published by Oxford University Press
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2016 09:26

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