Materialities of Entextualization: The Domestication of Sound Reproduction in Mauritian Muslim Devotional Practices


Department of Cultural Anthropology
Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 2
PO Box 80140, 3508 TC
Utrecht, The Netherlands


Mauritian Muslims have recently come to treat sound reproduction as enhancing and authorizing the transnational circulation of devotional discourse and poetry. In this article, I investigate the alternation between the storing of signs through media and their performative recontextualization as a practice that straddles the boundary between signification and materiality. The argument is that particular theological assumptions about mediation shape the deployment of media technology in religious settings. Such assumptions also influence the processes of entextualizing authoritative religious discourse. In the article I analyze how a sense of immediacy between religious performers and spiritual authorities emerges though the combination of uses of sound reproduction informed by a semiotic ideology of recitational logocentrism with particular deictic markers in discourse. [media, Islam, sound reproduction, entextualization, Mauritius]