Caring for the Poor: Islamic and Christian Benevolence in a Liberal World

Caring for the Poor: Islamic and Christian Benevolence in a Liberal World

by Cihan Tugal


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Caring for the Poor: Islamic and Christian Benevolence in a Liberal World by Cihan Tugal

Based on several years of fieldwork in Egypt and Turkey, Caring for the Poor tells the stories of charity providers and volunteers. The book also places their stories within the overall development of Islamic ethics. Muslim charity, Tuğal argues, has interacted with Christian and secular Western ethics over the centuries, which themselves have a conflict-ridden and still evolving history. The overall arch that connects all of these distinct elements is (a combined and uneven) liberalization. Liberalization tends to transform care into a cold, calculating, and individualizing set of practices. Caring for the Poor meticulously documents this insidious process in Egypt and Turkey, while also drawing attention to its limits and contradictions (by using the American case to highlight the contested nature of liberalization even in its world leader). However, as historians have shown, charitable actors have intervened in decisive ways in the rise and demise of social formations. Tuğal raises the possibility, especially through his study of two controversial Turkish organizations, that Islamic charity might appropriate elements of liberalism to shift the world in a post-liberal direction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781138041042
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 06/21/2017
Pages: 258
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Cihan Tuğal is an Associate Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley. He works on mobilization, socioeconomic change, and religion. Tuğal’s first book Passive Revolution (2009) studied pro-capitalist Islam and its popularization among the poor. In his second book The Fall of the Turkish Model (2016), Tuğal analyzed Islamic movements and regimes in Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Iran.

Table of Contents



1. Generosity as an alternative: is giving a challenge to the market logic?

2. The genealogy of Islamic and Christian ethics: from renunciation and redistribution to interdependence

3. The world-historical revolution in ethics: the dismantling of interdependence and the rise of the liberal subject

4. Comprehensive religion: communitarian associations in Egypt

5. Mobilizing Volunteers on Rocky Terrain: Neoliberal Benevolence in Egypt

6. Walking the tightrope between professionalism and tebliğ: Turkey’s neoliberal associations

7. Punching above their weight: Turkey’s communitarian and redistributive associations

Conclusion: Combined and Uneven Liberalization


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