The Secular and the Religious in Tajikistan: Contested Political Spaces

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing practice of Islam in Tajikistan in the last few years has contributed to rising social and political tensions. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Northern Tajikistan between May and October 2010, this article intends to highlight underlying religious tensions in Tajikistan, which, I argue, are the result of the emergence of conflicting voices contesting current political spaces. My intention is to revisit two concepts abundantly used in the religious literature. First, I intend to deconstruct the dichotomous relation between the state and society and try to uncover the power relations that lie behind the making, dissemination and understanding of narratives addressing the place of Islam in society. Second, I reconsider the categories of the secular and the religious by illustrating the porous character of these concepts in the Tajik context. I do so by providing accounts of local perceptions of religious politics expressed by politicians and bureaucrats, ordinary believers and representatives of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan. Finally, I argue that the coexistence of different sets of religious and secular norms reveals that the struggle for political power in Tajikistan is now increasingly articulated around religious issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-189
Number of pages17
JournalStudies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Islam
  • Tadjikistan
  • Tajikistan
  • conflicts post-Soviet
  • conflits post-soviétique
  • ethnographie
  • ethnography
  • politics
  • politique
  • religion
  • secularity
  • sécularisme

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Secular and the Religious in Tajikistan: Contested Political Spaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this