By Katherine Pratt Ewing
In Arguing Sainthood, Katherine Pratt Ewing examines Sufi non secular meanings and practices in Pakistan and their relation to the Westernizing impacts of modernity and the shaping of the postcolonial self. utilizing either anthropological fieldwork and psychoanalytic concept to severely reinterpret theories of subjectivity, Ewing examines the construction of identification within the context of a posh social box of conflicting ideologies and interests.
Ewing opinions Eurocentric cultural theorists and Orientalist discourse whereas additionally taking factor with expatriate postcolonial thinkers Homi Bhabha and Gayatri Spivak. She demanding situations the concept of a monolithic Islamic modernity which will discover the lived realities of people, fairly these of Pakistani saints and their fans. via analyzing the continuities among present Sufi practices and past well known practices within the Muslim international, Ewing identifies within the Sufi culture a reflexive, severe attention that has frequently been linked to the trendy topic. Drawing on her education in scientific and theoretical psychoanalysis in addition to her anthropological fieldwork in Lahore, Pakistan, Ewing argues for the worth of Lacan in anthropology as she presents the foundation for retheorizing postcolonial experiences.
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Additional resources for Arguing Sainthood: Modernity, Psychoanalysis, and Islam
This argument for a change in selfconsciousness - the development of reflexive, systematized awareness of one's habitual practices - presumes the prior existence of an unreflexive plenitude in which tradition is hegemonic and simply reproduced (as in Bourdieu's  concept of habitus), a presumption that itself reproduces the tradition-modernity dichotomy that deconstructions of Western discourse so decisively undercut. It is precisely this assumption of premodern consciousness as nonreflexive that I question.
Object relations theorists, such as Winnicott (1971), Flax (1990), and Benjamin (1988), also argue for the possibility of a prediscursive subject that is more than a developmental stage to be outgrown and repressed. They reject Lacan's developmental sequence and the proposition that the discursively constituted subject is separated by a bar from its primordial matrix. For Winnicott, Lacan's characterization of the subject as founded on a lack through an act of self-alienation describes only a pathological condition that Winnicott calls a "false self" (Winnicott 1965).
Another reason for the tendency of poststructuralist theories to posit a dominant discourse and a subject constituted out of this is their roots in structuralism. Such theories are, like Levi-Strauss's structuralism, explicitly antihumanistic. The subject is posited, not as a specific historical individual embedded in a complex web of material forces, interests, and conflicting meanings but as a construct, a determined "position" within the discourse itself. 19 This antihumanism is intended to disrupt the Enlightenment notion of a free and autonomous agent's movement toward liberation from tradition and oppression, one of the premises on which a Eurocentric discourse of progress is founded.
Arguing Sainthood: Modernity, Psychoanalysis, and Islam by Katherine Pratt Ewing