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. The author considers Reed's 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 Jennifer Selby considers the prevalence of this framework within contemporary social scientific research on Muslims in Canada and its purchase within a recent collaborative qualitative research project.