This paper will examine three works that discuss how definitions are developed to create social norms or identities, specifically, Eickelman and Salvatore (2002), Euben (2002) and Ghannam (2002). Eickelman and Salvatore discuss how a public space is used as a forum to define moral behavior and the common good. Euben argues against the notion that jihad is a fixed set of rules that advocate a violent and fanatical reaction to increasing globalization powered by the West (2002). Ghannam uses the concept of private and public domains to determine what is “seen” and what remains “unseen” and thus allowing movement between the private and public domains (2002).
An intriguing thread that runs through the three papers is how social order is negotiated and how the common good is defined. For example, Euben demonstrates how the hadiths referencing jihad in the Qur’an are interpreted to represent a cohesive whole such that jihad is seen as a way to establish a just social order (369). Jihad is used to legitimate a war that the Muslim authorities determine will benefit the entirety of humanity. Who is regarded as the enemy, or the “newest Dar Al Harb”, as Euben describes it, is flexible, depends on the historical circumstances and can include an unjust Muslim ruler as well as non-Muslims (369),
The Eickelman and Salvatore article shows how the bay’a, the swearing of allegiance to the Moroccan monarch, functions as a public sphere that facilitates dialogues on the rights and obligations of various parties and how they contribute to the common good (94). The bay’a serves as a way of negotiating a collective identify and social order that is distinct from the sphere dominated by the monarchy (93). Ghannam demonstrates how social order is established through the dividing of space into private and public domains and the doors that allow an interaction (96). The dichotomizing of private and public domains applies to regulating the relations between men and women (90), expressing who can and cannot be trusted (109), and expressing an attitude towards a neighbor (96).
Ghannam, Farha. Remaking the Modern: Space, Relocation and the Politics of Identity in a Global Cairo. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002.
Eickelman, Dale R., and Salvatore, Armando. “The public sphere and Muslim identities.” Archives of European Sociology 43.1 (2002): 92-115.
Euben, Roxanne L. “Jihad and Political Violence.” Current History November (2002): 365-376.