The House of Service: The Gulen Movement and Islam's Third Way

ISBN : 9780199336418

David Tittensor
272 Pages
167 x 242 mm
Pub date
Apr 2014
Religion and Global Politics
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David Tittensor offers a groundbreaking new perspective on the Gulen movement, a Turkish Muslim educational activist network that emerged in the 1960s and has grown into a global empire with an estimated worth of $25 billion. Named after its leader Fethullah Gulen, the movement has established more than 1,000 secular educational institutions in over 140 countries, aiming to provide holistic education that incorporates both spirituality and the secular sciences. Despite the movement's success, little is known about how its schools are run, or how Islam is operationalized. Drawing on thirteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in Turkey, Tittensor explores the movement's ideo-theology and how it is practiced in the schools. His interviews with both teachers and graduates from Africa, Indonesia, Central Asia, and Turkey show that the movement is a missionary organization, but of a singular kind: its goal is not simply widespread religious conversion, but a quest to recoup those Muslims who have apparently lost their way through proselytism and to show non-Muslims that Muslims can embrace modernity and integrate into the wider community. Tittensor also examines the movement's operational side and shows how the schools represent an example of Mohammad Yunus's social business model: a business with a social cause at its heart. The House of Service is an insightful exploration of one of the largest transnational Muslim associations in the world today, and will be invaluable for those seeking to understand how Islam will be perceived and practiced in the future.


Note on Transliteration and Turkish Pronunciation
PART ONE: The Gulen Movement in Context
1. Islam in Turkey: Continuities in Spite of Change
2. All is Not What it Seems: A Critical Appraisal of Modern Turkey
3. The Development of a Vision
PART TWO: The Gulen Movement in Practice
4. Voices from Within, Voices from Without: Movement Teachers and Students Speak for Themselves
5. Divergence Between the Mission and the Message: Interrogation of a Double Standard
6. Placing the Gulen Movement in the Global Order: The Need for a New Typology
Conclusion - A Singular Movement with a Modern Day Mission

About the author: 

David Tittensor has a PhD in Politics from Monash University, Australia, and is presently Research Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. His research interests include transnational Muslim movements, Turkish Politics and Society, Faith Based Organizations and Development.

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