Understanding spatial Waqf through Bourdieu’s symbolic capital

Authors: Amir Khaghani*, Florida International University
Topics: Middle East, Urban Geography, Religion
Keywords: Middle East, Waqf, Endowment, Bourdieu, Symbolic capital
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: 8229, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Waqf as a religious act of Islamic endowment has a been around since the 8th century in Middle East and elsewhere, and people have used it to gain different ends in different times and space. Waqf in Islamic law and tradition means holding certain property and preserving it for the confined benefit of certain objectives and purposes and at the same time prohibiting any use other than the specified one. Waqf is widely related to property, profit and buildings. Bourdieu's theory of the fields and his account of symbolic capital which in this theory is a medium of operation and functions as a currency, can be used as a tool to understand the practice of Waqf. This paper focuses on the physicality of Waqf in urban settings as a form of accumulating symbolic capital through endowing built environment in cities. to further support this novel approach of understanding Waqf in the light of Bourdieu's theory, Tehran's history of urban Waqf through Qajar and Pahlavi dynasties and the modifications in the practice brought by the varying political and social climates, has been taken into consideration.

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