There are dozens of introductory textbooks in sociology in English and other languages. As most of them are written by American and European authors and as they primarily cater to the academic interests and needs of students in Western universities, their contents as well as illustrations are largely drawn from contemporary Western societies. Most if not all textbooks in the subject suffer from an unmistakable and pervasive Eurocentric bias.
This volume, which has been commissioned by the Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi, seeks to provide a corrective to the Eurocentric underpinnings of Western sociology and offers suggestions for the formulation of a genuinely comparative science of society. It takes sufficient cognizance of the enormous diversity that characterizes human societies around the world. The empirical and historical data as well as illustrations that have been presented in the volume in order to elucidate sociological themes, issues and theories are drawn from a wide range of societies from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, North America and Australia. However, Muslim societies are in the focus of the volume.
Sociological studies of contemporary Muslim societies carried out by American and European scholars are undoubtedly valuable for the wealth of ethnographic data. However, a grave limitation of much of the sociological writing on Muslim societies is that they overlook or understate the overarching unity of Muslim societies while overly concentrating on their indisputable diversity. In other words, Western sociologists who have studied Muslim societies generally fail to see the wood for the trees. This volume seeks to rectify this anomaly by highlighting the dynamic interface between diversity and unity in Muslim societies.
There has been pervasive and deeply-entrenched undercurrent of hostility against Islam and Muslims in the Western intellectual tradition, which has seeped into the works of some prominent Western authors and writers, in the discourse of the social sciences and in the media. Much of the literature related to Islam and Muslims in the West is based on ignorance, prejudice, misconception and misrepresentation. There is a widely-held view in the West that Islam is the breeding ground for the growing aggression, fanaticism and intolerance in a large section of Muslims, that Muslim societies in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and elsewhere continue to be steeped in stagnation and backwardness and that Islam is inherently inimical to modernity and progress. The volume presents a substantial amount of empirical and historical evidence to refute such unfounded assumptions and pronouncements and to demonstrate that contemporary Muslim societies are significantly impacted by processes of change and transformation.
Some universities in Muslim countries have introduced sociology as a major component of graduate and postgraduate courses. This book has been written primarily for Muslim university students. However, it has a wider scope and it is hoped that sociology students in general, researchers and academics from other disciplines and the general reader will find it useful.
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2. Human Nature
6. Gender and Kinship
7. Population and Environment
8. Social Inequality and Stratification
9. Religion and Society
10. State, Nation and Nationalism
11. Modernity and Development
13. Sociology of Islam
14. Muslim Minorities
15. Health and Illness
16. Theory and Methodology