, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 219-223
Date: 29 Jun 2011

Introduction to special issue of Contemporary Islam: Islamic piety and gender relationships among contemporary Muslims

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Saba Mahmood’s work on women and piety in contemporary Egyptian Islam, especially her book The Politics of Piety (Mahmood 2005; see also Mahmood 2001, 2003), has aroused a considerable amount of academic discussion, including a previous special issue of Contemporary Islam edited by Bryan S. Turner on ‘Piety, Politics and Islam’ (vol. 2 no. 1, see Turner 2008). The present issue, which derives from a panel convened at the Australian Anthropological Society conference in December 2009, is rather different in orientation. Our aim was less to add to the critique of Mahmood’s own work than to look at the ways in which the new Islamic piety is played out in terms of sex and desire in everyday life, in how men and women interact within and outside of marital relationships, among Muslim populations both in Muslim-majority countries and in diasporic populations. The papers in this collection nevertheless intersect in various ways with Mahmood’s studies, both in conceptual terms, and through sug