work in progress in social theory and cultural sociology

on sufism, romanticism, consumerism – david graeber’s intriguing footnote

07.19.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

Working on the interconnections between the emergence of Turkish consumerism and Sufi imagination – my working hypothesis being that there is a “Sufi ethics” that can be seen as a functional equivalent of the “Romantic ethics” that Colin Campbell analysed as the root of the spirit of modern consumerism – I’m intrigued by David Graeber’s en passant suggestion that Sufism may even be causally linked to Romanticism and its predecessors.

‘Certainly, it is well established that the courtly love tradition in medieval France harkened back to Sufi poetic traditions of love as the chaste and spiritually fulfilling contemplation of an idealized object. Unfortunately, I lack the language skills to pursue the question of medieval Islamic theories of the imagination, but I would underline that this is yet another way in which when one refers to the “Western tradition,” one should think of oneself, especially in this period, referring equally or even primarily to Islam.’ (David Graeber, 2011, ‘Consumption’, in: Current Anthropology, Vol.52, No.4, pp.489-511, p.496, fne21)


Hat tip: Daniel Smith

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