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‘Uncovering the Self’: Religious Doubts, Spirituality and Unveiling in EgyptSince the 1980s, discourse on religious piety has taken many different forms, from mosque lessons by lay preachers—such as `Amr Khalid—to religious TV programmes and leisure activities. Within this widespread religious culture and cultivation of forms of visible piety, wearing the veil became an almost uncontested norm for women. As Saba Mahmood demonstrated, the veil became a crucial way to express and cultivate a ‘pious self’. Yet especially since the 2011 revolution and its aftermath, many young Egyptians started to question political, religious and patriarchal authorities. Amongst others, this took on open or hidden forms of non-believing, as well as a search for new forms of spirituality. Based on fieldwork and interviews, this contribution looks into the motives and experiences of women who decided to cast off the veil. In view of the hegemonic piety discourse, this is a huge issue, which is met by fierce reactions and accusations of immorality and non-belief. Whereas for some women this decision is an expression of religious doubt or a turn to a non-religious worldview, for others it is a way to contest the current piety discourse in a search for a more personal and spiritual connection with God. While the relationship with religion among my interlocutors might differ, they share a common attempt to uncover their ‘authentic selves’. By unveiling, they express their wish to define their own space and ideas regarding religion, gender and their bodies.
Spirituality and Healthcare—Common Grounds for the Secular and Religious Worlds and Its Clinical ImplicationsThe spiritual dimension of patients has progressively gained more relevance in healthcare in the last decades. However, the term “spiritual” is an open, fluid concept and, for health purposes, no definition of spirituality is universally accepted. Health professionals and researchers have the challenge to cover the entire spectrum of the spiritual level in their practice. This is particularly difficult because most healthcare courses do not prepare their graduates in this field. They also need to face acts of prejudice by their peers or their managers. Here, the authors aim to clarify some common grounds between secular and religious worlds in the realm of spirituality and healthcare. This is a conceptual manuscript based on the available scientific literature and on the authors’ experience. The text explores the secular and religious intersection involving spirituality and healthcare, together with the common ground shared by the two fields, and consequent clinical implications. Summarisations presented here can be a didactic beginning for practitioners or scholars involved in health or behavioural sciences. The authors think this construct can favour accepting the patient’s spiritual dimension importance by healthcare professionals, treatment institutes, and government policies.
Moral Ambivalence, Religious Doubt and Non-Belief among Ex-Hijabi Women in TurkeyThis article investigates religious transformations in contemporary Turkey through the case of women’s unveiling. Drawing on 10 in-depth interviews with university-educated urban women who have recently stopped wearing the veil, the article examines their experiences and their motivations for unveiling. It asks to what extent and in what ways Muslim women’s decisions to unveil are a reaction against the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) shift towards electoral authoritarianism and Islamic conservatism. Some practicing Muslims, particularly youth, have withdrawn their support from the government because of its political authoritarianism and its abandonment of Islamic ideals relating to justice. Since the 2013 Gezi Park protests, the AKP has come under critical scrutiny, both economically (e.g., increasing youth unemployment rates, widening income inequality, the shrinking middle class, clientelism) and sociopolitically (e.g., gendered social welfare policies, pro-natalist campaigns, the discourse on creating a pious generation). However, although the current political atmosphere plays a significant role in women’s unveiling, the article also discusses women’s personal and theological motives. The article elaborates on how ex-hijabi women contest both Islamist politics and Islamic orthodoxy regarding female religiosity and how these women reinterpret dominant gender norms.
A Confucian Defense of Shame: Morality, Self-Cultivation, and the Dangers of ShamelessnessMany philosophers and scholars in the West have a negative view of shame. In much of post-classical Western ethical thought, shame is compared negatively with guilt, as shame is associated with the “outer”, how one appears before others (and thus is merely a matter of “face”), and guilt is associated with the “inner” realm of the conscience and soul. Anthropologists and philosophers have used this framework to distinguish more morally evolved Western “guilt cultures” from Asian “shame cultures”. Many psychologists also have a negative view of shame, seeing it as damaging to the self and “devastating in its consequences”. In this paper, I argue that the understandings of shame found in these philosophers and psychologists are misguided, and that their flaws can be revealed by looking at the understanding of shame in the classical Confucian tradition. In response to philosophers who see shame as a “lesser” moral emotion than guilt, Confucius (孔子 Kongzi) and Mencius (孟子 Mengzi) will articulate an understanding of shame that has a deeply internal dimension and is more essential in the process of moral cultivation than guilt. In response to the psychologists who warn about the harm of shame, the Confucians will help us distinguish between moral and pathological shame, showing us why the latter is harmful, but the former is something that no moral person can be without. I will show that the Confucian perspective on shame and guilt is profoundly relevant to the historical moment we are living in (particularly the years of the Trump Administration), and that the Confucian view demonstrates that there is something much worse, and far more devastating, than shame in its consequences—shamelessness.
Acción colectiva territorial en el contexto fronterizo México-Guatemala. Productores de limón persa del Distrito de Riego San GregorioEl objetivo de este artículo es examinar los mecanismos de acción colectiva que implementaron los pequeños productores de limón persa en el Distrito de Riego San Gregorio en la región fronteriza México-Guatemala. El análisis de las estrategias que estos actores desarrollaron en las áreas de producción, difusión de conocimientos y comercialización, revela las formas en que enfrentan los retos del desarrollo territorial y los cambios en el sector alimentario. Debido a que la producción de este cítrico es un proceso reciente en el territorio, no se cuentan con estadísticas específicas y estudios previos para tomarlos como referencia, por lo que se parte de un estudio exploratorio para realizar una metodología de perspectiva cualitativa basada en la observación participante, entrevistas a distintos actores locales, conocimiento de la historia oral, aplicación de una encuesta a pequeños productores y la consulta de bases de datos. Se encontró que, para contender frente a la reestructuración del sector alimentario, los productores locales recuperaron elementos endógenos del territorio, lo que les permitió cooperar y coordinarse mediante organizaciones y la acción colectiva. Con ello adoptaron y adaptaron a sus condiciones un programa externo de introducción de un nuevo cultivo. Al ser un proceso reciente, se cuentan con pocos estudios de limón en la región.