Abstract This introductory essay provides the context for the articles in this Themed Section. Despite the diversity in locations, historical backgrounds and contemporary processes of change, all contributors to this Themed Section focus on the struggle of Muslim groups over access to an emergent Muslim public sphere. They highlight the contestations of and shifts in the notions of agency, belonging, and citizenship in nation-states with Muslim communities within its borders. The introduction consists of two parts. The first part reviews the notion of the public sphere as conceptualized by Habermas and critiqued by scholars of a diversity of backgrounds. In relation to the concept of the Muslim public sphere, three aspects of critique are given closer consideration in this first part: the value of thinking in terms of multiple publics, the loss of legitimacy of traditional religious authorities, and the importance of agency and identity that allow individuals to engage in a diversity of publics. The second part introduces the various contributions in the Themed Section.

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doi.org/10.1007/s11562-016-0367-1, hdl.handle.net/1765/95771
Contemporary Islam
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

Willemse, K., & Bergh, S. (2016). Struggles over access to the Muslim public sphere: Multiple publics and discourses on agency, belonging and citizenship (Introduction to the Themed Section). Contemporary Islam, 10(3, Themed Issue: Struggles over access to the Muslim public sphere), 297–309. doi:10.1007/s11562-016-0367-1