Ms Taha Kazi
MA Social Anthropology (SOAS)
- Ms Taha Kazi
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- Thesis title:
- Pious Entertainment – Changing Forms and Notions of Piety in Pakistan
The liberalisation of the Pakistani media under President Pervez Musharraf’s regime has encouraged the emergence of a ‘new’ style of call-in, religious talk shows, where audiences are invited to offer their opinions and raise queries regarding the varied aspects of Islamic belief and practice. My research aims to understand the rising interest in, and prominence of these shows, with special emphasis on the salience of these shows in articulating ‘new’ modes of religious authority, orthodoxy and religiosity.
This research questions the extent to which these shows provoke ‘new’ debates on the relevance of Islam to everyday life and politics and analyses how such debates translate into extant concerns regarding the role of televangelists in the proliferation of specific ‘mass’ understandings of Islamic piety. When analysing the nexus between religious television and politics, I focus mainly on the quotidian practices of social control in the different contexts of Islamic preaching and activism. At the same time I ask whether a seemingly ‘apolitical’ concern with piety on religious television shows, can have a ‘ripple effect’ in the political field. However, rather than circumscribing my research to the political manifestations of religion, I am equally interested in understanding the ways in which the Pakistanis perceive, consume, and engage with, these shows. In doing so, I transcend a reified view of television audiences to address the multiple social ‘realities’ that underlie the audiences’ engagement with religious television.
Anthropology of Religion, Media, and Pakistan