Sociology of Islam and Muslim Societies in Neoliberal Globalization
Sociology Virginia Tech Blacksburg, USA
Religious life and values are being replaced with economic life and values since the adoption of homo-economicus and the development of the industrial revolution. This new form of modernity has redirected us to a new system of social, political and economic interactions that has crystallized the role of individuals in a predominantly Western European system in which individualism supersedes an egalitarian-based mechanic solidarity.
On the other hand, Islam has never experienced its own process of internal modernization and secularization under capitalism, because the modern form of capitalism, Neoliberalism, did not reach Muslim-populated societies until the late 1950s. Therefore, Islam had not faced the challenges posed by complex economic structures until Neoliberalism arrived, to the detriment of Muslim societies, as late as in the beginning of the 1980s.
Following this chain of events, urbanization, education, critical thinking, secularism, and modernity began to emerge as a result of these new market conditions. Islam was faced with this new and externally developed phenomenon, perpetuated and forced by Neoliberal Globalization. New global market conditions also led to the formation of new types of political and social structures, based on the value of individualism. However Muslim society is based on egalitarianism, which has more in common with Socialist and community-based social structures than with the pure individualism inherent in Western Capitalism. In Islam, there is no individual, and the society or Muslim Nation (Ummah) exits in the mind of Muslims, and this consciousness itself constitutes the broader Muslim Society.
In this paper, I will try to explore the relationship between religion and modern forms of economic structure from the lens of Classical Social Theorists such as Marx, Weber, Durkheim and Simmel; however, I will also compare the issue from the perspective of Islamist Social thinkers such as Muhammad Abduh, Mawdudi, Sayyid Qutb, Hasan Al-Banna and Said-i Nursi. In this context, I must explore how economic structures shape and deconstruct religious systems, with the specific example of Islam of mind.