"Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe" examines how gender identities
were reconfigured in a Bulgarian Muslim community following the
demise of Communism and an influx of international aid from the
Islamic world. Kristen Ghodsee conducted extensive ethnographic
research among a small population of Pomaks, Slavic Muslims living
in the remote mountains of southern Bulgaria. After Communism fell
in 1989, Muslim minorities in Bulgaria sought to rediscover their
faith after decades of state-imposed atheism. But instead of
returning to their traditionally heterodox roots, isolated groups
of Pomaks embraced a distinctly foreign type of Islam, which swept
into their communities on the back of Saudi-financed international
aid to Balkan Muslims, and which these Pomaks believe to be a more
correct interpretation of their religion.
Ghodsee explores how gender relations among the Pomaks had to be
renegotiated after the collapse of both Communism and the region's
state-subsidized lead and zinc mines. She shows how mosques have
replaced the mines as the primary site for jobless and
underemployed men to express their masculinity, and how Muslim
women have encouraged this as a way to combat alcoholism and
domestic violence. Ghodsee demonstrates how women's embrace of this
new form of Islam has led them to adopt more conservative family
roles, and how the Pomaks' new religion remains deeply influenced
by Bulgaria's Marxist-Leninist legacy, with its calls for morality,
social justice, and human solidarity.
Princeton University Press
|Country of origin:
||Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics
||Electronic book text
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