The many voices in a Muslim self
Dialogical self theory in conceptualizing the religious identities and authorities of young European Muslims
Keywords:dialogue, Islam in Europe, Muslim youth, Qur’an, religious authority, religious identity, Shi‘ism
Previous research has demonstrated that young European Muslims relate to religion and religious authority differently from their parental generation. While traditional ‘ulama (Islamic scholars) are not about to become obsolete, they are nevertheless increasingly forced to defend their status against competitors. Furthermore, the relationship between many young Muslims and established religious authority is marked by ambivalence and complexity. In this article, I suggest the dialogical self theory (DST) as a fruitful approach to conceptualizing the religious identities and authorities of young European Muslims. To illustrate DST, I present a case study of a young Shi‘a Muslim who adopts two rather different positions towards religion. The position of ‘Doubting Sara’ is characterized by an independent search for an intellectually and ethically satisfactory worldview. In turn, the position of ‘Pious Sara’ emphasizes the peace of mind that is provided by routine religious practices. Together, ‘Doubting Sara’ and ‘Pious Sara’ maintain a balance that enables both religious stability and growth.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Teemu Pauha
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