Biographical Narratives of Muslim Activists

  • Sophie Roche
Part of the Transcultural Research – Heidelberg Studies on Asia and Europe in a Global Context book series (TRANSCULT)


Biographies cut across time and space, and hence provide a useful means of tracing Islamic political thinking, not as a fixed doctrine, but as a social and individual experience intellectually entangled with time and politics. To begin with, I will look at some commonalities between biographical narratives of three Muslim activists from Tajikistan. Political events are here considered as shaping personal religious experiences, and the biographical narrative is the expression of this tense relationship. To begin with, the biographical narratives presented in this chapter share a similar narrative organization with regard to childhood, represented as a search for Islam within a hostile (Soviet) environment; followed by a youth in which this search becomes pluralized and gains militancy; and lastly, journeys taken either to pursue one’s studies or to participate in conferences that generate personalized and vivid stories, which allow the narrator to use subjective experiences as the source of their maturing political reflection.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sophie Roche
    • 1
  1. 1.Social AnthropologyKarl Jaspers Center for Advanced Transcultural StudiesHeidelbergGermany

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