Divine Money


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Table of Contents

Note on Transliteration, Translation and Anonymization
Introduction: An Anthropological Perspective on Zakat
1. Fieldwork under Military Rule: Subjecting Oneself to Lateral Disciplining
2. Zakat Institutions on Shifting Grounds
3. Concealing and Exposing Need: Shyness, Piety and Dignity
4. The Piety of Giving: Modelling Direct Zakat Interactions
5. The Ethics of Giving and Market Transactions
6. The Other World and the Occupation

About the Author

Emanuel Schaeublin is an anthropologist focusing on ethics and political conflict in the Arabic-speaking Middle East and Europe. He is a senior researcher at ETH Zurich and an advisor on film productions.


"Divine Money offers an intimate look into the nuances and complexities of economic and religious interactions of often ignored social groups. Schaeublin's ethnography has a fascinating ability to clarify and make explicit the hidden rules and etiquette of life in the margins of one of Palestine's economic capitals. The implications of zakat, as a pillar of Islam, and the way it actually functions on the day to day basis and through face to face interactions have rarely been studied and Schaeublin's contribution to scholarship is thus significant."—Laurent Bonnefoy, author of Yemen and the World: Beyond Insecurity

"Through close ethnographic attention to neighborly relations, greetings, coffeeshop encounters, financial transactions, stickers, posters, and gossip, Schaeublin offers an incisive account of how the Islamic tradition shapes public life in Nablus. A highly readable book, Divine Money beautifully illuminates the convergence of political and divine economies, offering an important contribution to our understanding of what it means to live an ethical and pious life under military occupation."—Amira Mittermaier, University of Toronto

"It is a common idea that money liberates and estranges humans from their moral, spiritual and individual relations. Schaeublin shows that quite the opposite is often the case, following as he does various forms and ways of giving, receiving, and talking about Islamic alms in the Palestinian city of Nablus. A pleasure to read, insightful, and inspiring, Divine Money is a major contribution to understand the relationship of ethics and economy, attentive to the violent political context of occupation as well as to the divine horizon of alms, which rather than just moving between humans, constitute triadic relations between Humans and God."—Samuli Schielke, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin.

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