Book: Constructing Data in Religious Studies
Chapter: 5. Interrogating Categories with Ethnography: On the "Five Pillars" of Islam
This response takes up Annette Yoshiko Reed’s attention to the power dynamics and the limits of categories and categorization in academic scholarship on religion. I consider her warnings of anachronism and reification in relation to her work on texts in late antiquity in relation to the “five pillars,” a primary framework for categorizing the central beliefs and practices in Islam. More specifically I consider the prevalence of this framework within contemporary social scientific research on Muslims in Canada and its purchase within a recent collaborative qualitative research project.