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American Ethnologist

The orthodoxization of ritual practice in western Anatolia

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ABSTRACT

In rural western Turkey, villagers have replaced male performances of davul (bass drum) and zurna (double-reed wind instrument) as well as men's dancing with mevluts, special prayer services, and they have replaced women's dances to taped or live electric harmonium music with sohbets, sermons. Villagers are motivated to transform “cultural practices” that appear “backward” from the perspective of state-based ideologies of cultural progress and that are considered sinful from the perspective of Islamists. I trace their quests for spiritual and secular salvation and how they relate to the construction of a modernist Islamic worldview.

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