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Ontological Security and the Limits to a Common world: Subaltern Pasts and the Inner-Worldliness of the Tablighi Jama’at

  • Catarina Kinnvall
  • Ted Svensson
Publishing year: 2017-10-16
Language: English
Pages: 333-352
Publication/Series: Postcolonial Studies
Volume: 20
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Routledge

Abstract english

In this article, the often conflictual intersection between transnational dimensions of religious social formations and narratives of global governance and national security is interrogated. Concretely, the article examines how the relation, between the transnational activities and commonalities actuated by the Islamic revivalist movement Tablighi Jama’at and the perception that it hosts and nourishes extremist elements, both activates and makes manifest efforts at attaining ontological security. At the heart of the analysis is hence the question of where to locate the limits to the common world as it finds embodiment in contemporary expressions of global governance and transnationalism. By critically engaging the possibility of incorporating the many voices of being human into a singular and all-encompassing framework of human existence, the article moreover builds and expands on Dipesh Chakrabarty’s theorising of ‘subaltern pasts’ and relates it to the seeming need of selfhood to strive towards wholeness, that is, for subjectivity to be securitised. It is, as a consequence, suggested that the identity formation that emerges through Tablighi Jama’at’s comportment, and the controversies that surround it, must be understood as a manifestation of the limits to what narratives of globality might accommodate. By claiming this, the article confirms and furthers extant reasoning on the incomplete and fractured relation between the possibility of a common world and the intrinsic silence of the subaltern within the realms of the international and the global.


  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
  • Globalization Studies
  • global governance
  • ontological security
  • Tablighi Jama'at
  • subaltern
  • postcolonialism


  • ISSN: 1466-1888
Catarina Kinnvall
E-mail: catarina [dot] kinnvall [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se


Department of Political Science

+46 46 222 80 94

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Department of Political Science
Lund University
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Telephone: +46 46-222 89 52

Faculty of Social Sciences