Further Thoughts on Developmental Patterns in the Islamicate Civilization

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:50 AM
Room: Harbor Lounge B
Oral Presentation
Said ARJOMAND , Sociology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
At the last World Congress of Sociology in Gothenburg, I proposed historicizing our paradigm for analyzing the relation between Islam as a world religion and the Islamicate civilization that grew around it from the Nile to the Oxus. Among other things, the proposal required moving away from the monistic and ahistorical, one ideal-type one-religion approach followed by Weberian, and applying instead Max Weber’s own notion of developmental patterns to axial civilizations in their formative period(s) and beyond. In this paper I explore the implications of this historicizing approach in connection with a pluralistic conception of axial—in my case, Islamicate—civilizations as consisting of normatively autonomous (eigengesetzlich) domains, each with its own developmental pattern that can interact or conflict with those in other domains. Each domains, is furthermore, capable of engaging in encounters with other civilizations largely in its own terms. I will illustrate my analytical framework with examples from the interlinked religious and political domains concerning the legitimacy of monarchy and the normative regulation of the political order. My aim will be to demonstrate how these two domains are brought into a measure of meaningful consistency (Sinnzusammenhang) in the context of the historical contingent developments in the Islamicate civilization.