The project explores through ethnographic fieldwork the expansion in rural West Africa of forms of associative life inspired by the corporate bureaucracy. This ethnographic approach also welcomes a visual component (photography and film). The research framework is based on three interrelated themes: (1) New forms of religious organization in West Africa: the emergence of corporate Islam; (2) Muslim activism in rural regions; (3) The phenomenology of religious experience. The project puts in dialogue 4 case studies (Muslim organizations) which will be allocated among the 4 members of the research team (main researcher; postdoctoral researcher; 2 PhD students). The working languages are English and French.
Each successful applicant will write a PhD Dissertation based on one of the three case studies listed in the SNF project description. Successful applicants can also propose a case study of their choice as long as this Muslim organization offers the possibility to undertake an ethnographic fieldwork in safe rural areas of West Africa (including Cameroon and Chad). The ethnographic fieldwork of the case study (chosen or proposed) should also be located outside rural areas where applicants grew up and/or have family ties. The main discipline of their doctoral studies can be sociology, geography, or political science. The research method is an 18 months ethnographic fieldwork.