Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life

As Founding Editor, I am pleased to bring to you this inaugural issue of Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life, the first social scientific journal devoted to the study of contemporary Muslims and their communities and societies. Tragic events have marked the beginning of this century, globally affecting Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The escalation of violence in the aftermath of 9/11, the unprecedented number of conflicts simultaneously affecting Muslim countries, as well as political attempts to redraw social ‘new orders,’ have changed how people (Muslim and non) speak, discuss, refer, diatribe, stereotype, defend, vilify, exalt, orientalise, define, represent, study, live, re-think, conserve, reform, reject, and revert to Islam. At the same time, it is not so rare to come across more or less direct contentions that Muslims are uncritical slaves to a fixed and unchanging set of religious dogma. In other words, Muslims are assumed to believe, behave, act, think, argue, and develop their identity as Muslims despite their disparate heritages, ethnicities, nationalities, experiences, gender, sexual orientations, and, last but not least, individually unique minds. Yet Islam can only exist as part of processes, as part of interpretations, culturally shaped and affected by our shared condition of being humans.Among these conditions, there is one that is peculiar to our era: globalization. Increasingly our own lives are not linked to one fixed place but rather they interact with distant ‘others,’ struggling to make sense of the local and the present (Robertson 1995). New media of communication and information have reshaped the concept of locality, home and foreigner (Hall 1991). Muslims today, more than others, find themselves projected within these new global dimensions, experiencing both the positive and negative elements of it. This means that we, as scholars, need to rethink how we approach our study of the Muslim worlds. We cannot study, for example, Muslims in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, Morocco, or Libya, without taking into consideration the transnational and global networks that they are part of.
Similarly, we cannot properly study Muslim communities in the so-called West without paying attention to their connections with other Muslims in Muslim majority countries as well as the diversity of their own settings. This means that today the study of contemporary Muslims and the dynamics of their lives needs an interdisciplinary approach. Indeed, there is no specific discipline, within the humanities and social sciences, which can claim a monopoly on the study of Muslims and their societies.

Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life will offer a platform for discussion on contemporary aspects ofMuslimlife. Consequentially, it provides an active forum for the discussion of new ideas, fieldwork experiences, challenging views, and methodological and theoretical approaches to Muslim lives. As a top-level, internationally peer-reviewed journal, it seeks to be broad-based and wide-ranging by exploring the relationship between Islam and its contemporary cultural, material, economic, political, religious, and gender-based expressions from different socio-scientific perspectives taken from anthropology, sociology, ethnomusicology, arts, film studies, economics, human rights, education, politics, cultural studies, psychology, international relations, international law, diaspora, minority studies, demography, and ethics. The idea of Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life started the day in which, as a young student researching my PhD in Anthropology, I observed that although the social scientific research on Muslims and Islam was lively and increasing, it was spread among a variety of academic publications and lacking a visible forum. Furthermore, most journals in Islamic studies have preferred the historical, political and comparative approach to social scientific research and topics. The idea of contributing to the social scientific research on Muslims by providing that much needed interdisciplinary and independent forum brought me to embark in this fascinating venture. The support that this idea received from my junior and senior colleagues transformed the idea into reality thanks to Springer, which offered to publish the journal.

I offer my sincere thanks to the dedicated team who made this first issue possible. I would not have been able to start this new journal without the advice, support and trust of the members of the Editorial Board, and my Co-editor, Prof. Daniel M. Varisco.
Original research articles dealing with the fields previously mentioned will receive priority. We welcome other forms of articles, such as fieldwork reports, review articles, book reviews, and letters to the editor. I hope that the readers may
find this first issue enjoyable, and interesting as well as challenging. I also hope that readers may consider offering a contribution to the development of Contemporary Islam in the future through the forthcoming issues of this journal.

Please submit your manuscript for consideration through our electronic submission system

Dr Gabriele Marranci
Founding Editor

Hall, S. (1991). The local and the global: Globalisation and ethnicity. In A. D. King (Ed.), Culture, globalization and the world system. New York: Macmillan.
Robertson, R. (1995). Globalization: Time-spaced and homogeneity-heterogeneity. In M. Featherstone, S. Lash, & R. Robertson (Eds.), Global modernities. London: Sage. 2 Cont Islam (2007) 1:1–2

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