The Calligraphic State / Edition 1

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Overview


In this innovative combination of anthropology, history, and postmodern theory, Brinkley Messick examines the changing relation of writing and authority in a Muslim society from the late nineteenth century to the present. The creation and interpretation of texts, from sacred scriptures to administrative and legal contracts, are among the fundamental ways that authority is established and maintained in a complex state. Yet few scholars have explored this process and the ways in which it changes, especially outside the Western world.

Messick brings together intensive ethnography and textual analysis from a wealth of material: Islamic jurisprudence, Yemeni histories, local documents. In exploring the structure and transformation of literacy, law, and statecraft in Yemen, he raises important issues that are of comparative significance for understanding political life in other Muslim and nonwestern states as well.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520205154
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 6/16/1996
  • Series: Comparative Studies on Muslim Societies Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 356
  • Sales rank: 1,316,314
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author


Brinkley Messick is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan.
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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. I Authority 13
Ch. 1 Genealogies of the Text 15
Ch. 2 The Pen and the Sword 37
Ch. 3 Disenchantment 54
Pt. II Transmission 73
Ch. 4 Audition 75
Ch. 5 The New Method 99
Ch. 6 Print Culture 115
Pt. III Interpretation 133
Ch. 7 Relations of Interpretation 135
Ch. 8 Sharia Society 152
Ch. 9 Judicial Presence 167
Ch. 10 Court Order 187
Pt. IV Inscription 201
Ch. 11 Evidence of the Word 203
Ch. 12 Spiral Texts 231
Conclusion 251
Biographical Guide 257
Glossary 259
Notes 265
Bibliography 317
Index 333
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