Invisibility and Islamic healing in the West
in Descending with angels
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This introductory chapter explores how the invisible has been dealt with in the social sciences, in Islamic theology, and in public debates in Western media on the question of whether Islam is in fact the underlying invisible cause of ‘integration problems’. The exploration of the invisibility and hypervisibility of Muslims in the West leads to a discussion of invisibility in relation to theories about human perceptual agency. While a number of influential studies in anthropology and psychiatry have been concerned with how best to account for human agency, it is proposed that both the psychiatric and Islamic treatments that are the focus of the book point primarily to the idea of human agency as an obstacle that needs to be overcome in order to access either the invisible healing of God, or that of psychotropic medicine. Finally the author discusses his approach to ethnographic film and how he has applied the cinematic gaze as a methodological and analytical tool for displacing his own perception when studying the invisible among Danish Muslims.

Descending with angels

Islamic exorcism and psychiatry: a film monograph


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