The paradoxes of a localised Islamic orthodoxy: Rethinking Tatar traditional Islam in Russia
The question of the process of developing national or local forms of Islam is often approached through the lens of the domestication of Islam and by emphasising the role of the state or Muslim officials close to the state in this process. In my analysis of the process, undertaken by certain Tatar Muslim representatives in Russia, of developing what I call a localised Islamic orthodoxy, I aim to study shifts in the debate on ‘traditional Islam’ towards a more theological understanding of the term. I examine attempts to develop a local interpretation of Islam that, while based on universal religious fundaments, is not in opposition to Tatar national traditions and a secular modern lifestyle. The representation of an ‘orthodox traditional Islam’ is necessarily paradoxical to the extent that a localised orthodoxy claims to be timeless, ‘natural’ and established but still needs to be defined, learned and taught following decades of Soviet atheist policies. Furthermore, this representation relies on the projection of orthodoxy onto the past in a process in which certain elements of a complex Tatar Muslim identity are made visible and emphasised (in particular, the Hanafi tradition), while others are obscured. By referring to the literature on orthodoxy in the anthropology and sociology of Islam and in Islamic studies, I aim to examine the theological dimension of the process of defining a local Islam that is currently being pursued by certain Tatar Muslim representatives in Russia.
Since 2008, tighter budget constraints have forced the Russian federal government to adjust the system governing its relations with the regions. This paper argues that more advanced Russian regions have the potential to develop a constructive response to the recent deterioration in their operational environment. This argument is based on an analysis of the experiences of coping with the external shocks that have occurred over the last 25 years in the Republic of Tatarstan. The paper identifies key factors that have helped the republic successfully tackle previous shocks, such as elite cohesion and internal consensus regarding republican developmental priorities.
The paper studies empirically competition on regional markets for banking services in Russia. Bank-level statistics collected in two adjacent Russian regions, namely Bashkortostan and Tatarstan, enabled to compare these markets. Estimation based on Herfindahl-Hirschman index, Lerner index and Panzar-Rosse model suggests that both regional markets are featured by monopolistic competition. Contrary to ex ante expectations, intensity of competition in Bashkortostan turned out to be higher than in Tatarstan. There is found no convincing statistical proof to the theoretical hypothesis that market power dynamics are driven by market structure, i.e. by the degree of market concentration in the hands of top players.
This empirical paper adds to competition and industrial organization literature by exploring the interplay between industry structure and competitiveness on local, rather than nation-wide, markets. We use micro-level statistical data for banks in two Russian regions (Bashkortostan and Tatarstan) to estimate Herfindahl-Hirschman index, Lerner index, and Panzar-Rosse model. We estimate Panzar-Rosse model in two ways: via the widely used price-equation that accounts for scale effects and then via a revenue-equation that disregards scale effects as suggested by Bikker, Shaffer and Spierdijk (2009). We find both regional markets to be ruled by monopolistic competition, although estimation by revenue-equation does not reject monopoly hypothesis for Tatarstan. Existence of sizeable locally-owned and operated institutions does not necessarily lead to higher competitiveness of the given regional market. Non-structural methods of estimation suggest that bank competition in Bashkortostan is stronger than in Tatarstan.
Review on Paranthropology: Journal of Anthropological Approaches to the Paranormal.
A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion presents a collection of original, ethnographically-informed essays that explore the variety of beliefs, practices, and religious experiences in the contemporary world and asks how to think about religion as a subject of anthropological inquiry. The volume resents a collection of original, ethnographically-informed essays exploring the wide variety of beliefs, practices, and religious experiences in the contemporary world; explores a broad range of topics including the ‘perspectivism’ debate, the rise of religious nationalism, reflections on religion and new media, religion and politics, and ideas of self and gender in relation to religious belief; includes examples drawn from different religious traditions and from several regions of the world; features newly-commissioned articles reflecting the most up-to-date research and critical thinking in the field, written by an international team of leading scholars.
The chapter analyses veneration of St Xenia of St Petersburg who is very popular among different groups of contemporary believers in the Russian Orthodox Church. The authors aim to answer why this particular saint became so popular. To answer the question they analyze various types of texts which represent the saint to the believers, including her hagiography and hymnology, on the one hand, and popular literature about her, on the other. The data also includes the ethnographic research of the practices of veneration. The authors argue that popularity of the saint can be (partly) explained by the fact that she is represented by the church and perceived by the believers as a role model for the contemporary believers. She is a saint of irregular believers, and the dynamic channel for Church newcomers.