- Watching Clone: Brazilian soap operas and Muslimness in Kyrgyzstan
- Material Religion
- Volume | Issue number
- 8 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In 2004 Clone, a Brazilian soap opera that featured Moroccans and Brazilians as main characters, broadcast throughout post-Soviet Central Asia. The program rose to tremendous popularity in the Kyrgyzstani town of BazaarKorgon partly due to the romanticism of its imagery. The town's residents said they were so taken by the soap opera because it was the first fictionalized program that featured Muslims as main characters that had aired in the post-Soviet period. While the rather orientalized images featured in the serial can be read as highly stereotypical, Bazaar-Korgonians nonetheless utilized the soap to widen conceptualizations of what "true" Muslimness could be. Some even used it to support their efforts at religious piety. The soap opera was certainly not a religious object. Nevertheless, residents utilized it in explicitly religious projects. This forces us to consider the role that such ambiguously classifiable objects—those that fall outside of the undeniably religious/non-religious dialectic—play in "doing religion."
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