Hierarchy into heterarchy reshuffling the cards of authority in urban spaces between India and the hijaz

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Abstract

This article addresses the heterarchical dynamism generated by the reorganization of sacred geographies in India and the Arabian Peninsula through contemporary iconographies and religious practices. The cities at the top of the orthodox Islamic/Arab sacred, authoritative hierarchy have lost their status in the current Indian context both concretely and symbolically, and have become equated, embedded, or subordinated to the Indian space. This dynamism is unfolding primarily in Indian vernacular spaces: in the material culture and audiovisual media produced and sold in Islamic bazaars in proximity to Sufi shrines; and in public religious practices that are reshuffling the sacred spaces of both India and the Hijaz, manifesting a polyphonic, at times rhizomatic fabric corresponding to social theorist Kyriakos Kontopoulos’s definition of a heterarchy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-257
Number of pages22
JournalNumen
Volume69
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • India
  • Islam
  • Kaba
  • Muharram
  • Taaziya processions

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