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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Fifteen distinguished domestic and foreign sociologists of religion dealing with a complex issue of the position of Islam at the Balkans will debate, for two days, on June at Babin Zub, a well-known resort on the Stara Mountainin four plenary sessions, namely: The Anthology before the readers comprises papers arranged according to the plenary sessions.
The idea to devote the Conference to Islam has come from Dragoljub B. This growth of interest is caused primarily by the emerging of the social phenomenon of radical neoislamism, whose protagonists are the inadequately integrated members of the first and second generation of immigrants from the Muslim world.
On the other hand, Muslim communities in the Balkans, who are the only representatives of the historic and authentic European Islam, have unjustly been excluded from the debate about the situation of Islam in Europe. Therefore, there is no argument over the actuality and the importance of the issue that this conference is addressing.
Also, it is equally obvious that its scientific study so far has been theoretically and methodologically deficient and inconsistent. I have decided, therefore, to offer my modest contribution to this gathering in the form of an unpretentious theoretical and methodological essay.
Considering the limitation of space and time I have at my disposal, I will try to organize my presenta- tion through a few basic points. Each of them will be explained and, if necessary, illustrated with examples from the reality of Islam in the Balkans.
I evdope it must be clear to everyone that this approach inevitably implies a significant selectivity and a high degree of generalization. It will bring me great joy, and it will certainly be most useful, if this theoretical and methodological stimulus gives rise to a discussion and critical replies already during the conference.
Through discussion, it can be ex- panded, supplemented and, if necessary, corrected in a way that is most productive. Its basic intention is to help, eventually to point in a direction through a question, least of all to teach. I have already pointed out that Islam in the Balkans is a very complex and multidimensional phenomenon. I will try through my essay to touch on dimensions and aspects of this complex issue which I find to be the most important. Cragoljub is also fundamentally important to stress that, for it to be successful in analysis and learn- ing, contemporary academic approach to Islam in the Balkans must lend itself close to uxpon everyday complexity of its object of study.
This approach, after taking every- thing into consideration, must be holistic. Of course, to this synthesis of knowledge an unavoidable contribution must be given by the specialized studies of certain ar- eas. Coordination between them would be most desirable. Although I will attempt to mention all the main ways of existence and manifestation of our theme, I hold that it is useful, during my opening remarks, to make one more suggestion. I am certain that in the study of modern occurrences that are connected to the Islamic phenome- non in the Balkans, it is necessary to pay more attention to the cultural and civiliza- tional, and not only religious and political dimensions.
Because, unlike in Western Europe, Islam does not exist only in the Balkans, but also deep within Balkans. For the appropriate theoretical basing and methodological organizing of the whole academic approach to the Islamic problem in the Balkans, it is a matter of principle to answer the following question: It is not eragoljub easy question to answer.
The answer to this question, prior to discussing the Balkan case, assumes establishing a methodological balance between two opposing tendencies which have marked inter- national islamology in the last decades. On one side we have the supporters of Is- lamic relativism.
They insist on the diverse manifestations of Islam in different re- gions of the world. They refuse any possibility to speak of Islam as a monolith and, as they see it, an abstract ideological construct produced by orientalism in a sense that is attributed by E.
Mostly they do not deny the historic and cultural reasons behind the diverse regional and local manifestations of Islam, but they point out that this difference in appearance should not be apsolutised.
When applied to the Balkans, it would mean that the muslims in Bosnia and Hercegovina, in Kosovo and Metohija, in Macedonia, Bulgaria and in Greece are different in many aspects, but at the same time all of them, despite those differences, are Muslims like their counterparts in Turkey, Iran, Egypt and Malaysia. Within the islamological tradition, the dispute between relativists and essen- tialists has been a long standing one, but has been intensified in the second half of the XX century, during which the problematic of the relation towards Islam in the West has been actualized politically and ideologically, and not only sragoljub.
I am certain that there can be no dilemma in the conclusion that the success and the credibility usspon Islamic studies will always be proportional to the achieved balance between the essentialist and relativist approach.
The problem is, however, that this type of balanced theoreti- cal and methodological model is not easy to establish, and even harder to implement consistently.
All that has been said relates in the full measure to the situation in the Bal- kans. His already classic, pioneering study of Islam and Muslims in the Balkans in the postottoman period A.
USPON EVROPE , Dragoljub R. Zivojinovic 29str. – Free Download PDF
In concurrence with the ob- servation made by M. While doing so, and with Islam in general, we should keep in mind not to slide into excessive relativism and to forget that Balkan Muslims deeply belong to the Islamic umma, the world community of Allah believers.
If we neglect this fundamental fact, and some such tendencies have appeared, it is impossible to understand and explain the meaning of some movements and occurrences in modern balkanic Islam. A group zivojinovif his collabo- rators has decided to pick up where he left off and to make the first academic synthesis about Islam and Muslims in the Balkans in the postomman period. They titled their book, not coincidentally, New Balkanic Islam, Muslims-protagonists of post communism Le Nouvel islam balkanique.
Les muslumans, acteurs du post- communisme. In connection to this book, but evorpe to the Balkanic Is- lam, there is an important fundamental question: I had dragoljhb oppor- tunity to personally ask the authors of the book this question. Furthermore, they said that by choosing this title they wanted to open in the islamological circles a debate on the same ques- tion they have been asking themselves. Nevertheless, on the basis of the contents of the book, and on the views expressed in an interview by one of the two coauthors N.
Two main characteristics of this process are: Science must face with these changes objectively and responsibly. For the study of modern reality of Islam in the Balkans to bear fruit with factually sound and reliable knowledge, it is necessary to establish the main factors which over the course of the last two decades have influenced its development.
Those are the same factors which have decisively influenced the whole Balkans, and Southeastern Europe. They are in part exogen, and part endogen, and they mani- fested themselves in a changeable casual-consequential interaction. Considering the limited scope of this contribution, I will be forced to only list the abovementioned factors, with a short commentary for each and a few illus- trations.
Uspon Evrope, 1450-1789
Each of them deserves a separate discussion. First of all, the fall of commu- nism, the abolishing of the old model of a bipolar kspon and the beginning of a de- mocratic transition of the whole region, coupled with a parallel process of euroatlan- tic integration, present the macrofactors in establishing a framework for all social and political processes in the Balkans, and further.
In the area of former Yugoslavia, and in the immediate surrounding, the tumultuous disintegration of the federal state was the decisive influence on the Islamic social component. Only in Yugoslavia, out of all the Balkans, was the transition followed by a war. In the specific Yugoslav circumstances of a strong bond between the ele- ments of national and religious, the politicization of Islam, in the context of a post- communist democratization, severely cut short by the challenges of war, has mani- fested itself as a radicalization.
Even if there was no war, the simultaneous processes of disintegration and democratization of the complex Yugoslav area would have probably lead to a radicalization. War only accelerated the process and took it to its extremes.
While it may seem that it is paradoxical for a democracy to cause a politi- cal and ideological radicalization, in the Yugoslav case it is actually a norm or even fate. Radical politicization draagoljub lead to an Islamic radicalization.
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In wartime conditions and existential peril, while strengthening the ties with non- Balkan Muslim, there has also been an emergence of extremist fundamentalist ten- dencies. In the years of democratization, war and in the few postwar years that followed, there was a refusal to even consider a possibility of a wahhabi danger in Bosnia. However, in March In the debates about Balkan Islam and its contemporary metamorphosis, it is often said that Muslims in the Balkans are followers of the Ottoman, pragmatic version of Islamic teaching and its practice.
Undoubtedly that is true. Ottomans were Sunnis of the Hanafi Rite, i. When it comes to the education of contemporary Muslim theologians and religious functionaries the situation has changed considerably in the meantime.
This is not just the question of differences in details between followers of different established schools of legal and religious thought, which is often matter of finesse, but about a general redirection of organized educational effort. I am certain that one of the most urgent tasks that stand before scholars of Balkanic Islam is the multifaceted and deepened familiarizing with the actual educa- tional system and Islamic schooling in the region.
The education already has a key and soon will assume a decisive influence on determining a direction, in the matter of understanding and applying Islamic teaching, which the Muslims in the Balkans will predominantly take. A great and persistent attention has always been paid to the creation of a network of institutes for religious education in the country, as well as sending a great number of scholarship holders to the sec- ondary school education, and especially university and specialist education in the centers of the Islamic world.
Of course, Islamic communities still send their future theological and intellectual elite for their advance studies to the prestigious centers of Islamic world it would be in- teresting to see to which!
New generation of religious functionaries, Muslim intellectuals and activist is being produced at home, which is a qualitative difference compared to the time three or four decades ago. What is and what will be the prevailing religious profile, mental build and world outlook of these new generations? In order to make a reliable prognosis, it is necessary to carefully study the lesson plans and programs of Islamic religious institutions on all levels, to flip through manuals and textbook materials, and get acquainted with the biogra- phies of religious teachers and professors.
In the case of university professor and assistants it is not unimportant to follow their academic work and publications.
So far, according to my knowledge, such comprehensively planned researches, except some initial and partial work, has not been conducted. However, the general impression is that the profile of the people who are coming out of Islamic schools is changing. All this talk of education leads us in the cultural and civilizational dimen- sion of Balkanic Islam.
In the introduction it was emphasized that I consider it ex- tremely important, but also pretty neglected. This remark needs further clarifying. Depending on the motivation of the researchers, as well as the system of values characteristic of their world outlook, the scientific meth- ods and areas of interest have differed.
For both groups a certain symptomatic selective- ness was characteristic see A. In any case, it wouldn’t be right to claim that the cultural dimension of Islamic phenome- non in the Balkans was not studied. This dimension is, however, almost completely removed from the perception of its contemporary social and political reality, altough in life they are unseparable. Despite the significance that I attribute it, this time i will not, unfortunately, be able to exhaustively elaborate on my conviction that it is necessary to include the cultorological plan in the scientific study of contemporary Balkanic Islam.
My theoretical and methodological suggestion that it is relevant to include the cultural dimension in sociological and politicological analysis’ of our complex theme derives from my con- viction that it is necessary to seek a comprehensive and integral approach. Because the reality of Islam in the Balkans is, as much as it is embedded in the ground of faith and politics, perhaps is even more deeply rooted in the humus of culture.
Actu- al phase of the process of identitarian quest and self organizing of Balkan Muslims, not deprived of dramaticity, is marked by establishing a distance to some of the attributes of the Balkan cultural and civilizational model which objectively connects them to other Balkanites.
Wehabbis are not a challenge for their Balkan brothers in faith primarily because they follow Ibn Hanbal and not Abu Hanifa, but because they forse them in everyday life to deviate from their centuries old models of behavior.
On the other hand, non Muslims in the Balkans are not bothered by the fact that Muslims are forming their own political parties and are going to their religious scho- ol, but by the fact that they are starting to resemble Arabs and Asians by theire physical appearance, behavior and dress code, while rapidly shifting their order of social priorities and intrusively insisting on differences that didn’t exist only yesterday. That is how is created a special syndrom of a bilateral collective schizop- hrenia, a separation from oneself and from others, with a pronounced conflict char- ge on both sides.
On the cultural plan, it is most evident that Islam is an integral component of Balkan civilization. Not Muslims nor Christians can decide for it to suddenly stop being so. Because, Islam is not only in the Balkans, it is also within Balkans.
None has exclusive right to fanaticism and no one, vice versa, has an exclusive right to humanity.