Research projects

All projects within SATS are conceptualised within what the anthropologist George Marcus has called ‘a multi-sited imaginary’: ananalytical awareness that the site(s) investigated are connected to other global and regional sites through communication, transport and common visions (Marcus 1998).  The projects cover a wide and near representative spread (in terms of theology, sociology as well as geography) of current, transnational Sufi movements with a presence in Europe.


Concretely, we will conduct multi-sited fieldwork of lived experience within five global Sufi organisations.  All these organisations have formed transnational connections – both social and electronic – that move in and out of Europe. To study these links, research in archival, literature, internet-based material is also necessary. Inspired by revived interest in the social strength of ‘weak ties’ (Buchanan 2003; Granovetter 1973; Newman,Barabasi, and Watts 2006), we will study the way the successful Sufi orders have used the internet and other media to transcend their conventional geographical limits and achieved global reach (Buehler 1998; Bunt 2002).


For more, see the descriptions of the individual projects.


  • Buchanan, Mark (2003) Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks. New York: W.W. Norton.
  • Buehler, Arthur (1998) Sufi Heirsof the Prophet: The Indian Naqshbandiyya and the Rise of the Mediating Shaykh. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.
  • Bunt, Gary (2002) Virtually Islamic. Computer-mediated Communication and Cyber Islamic Environments. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
  • Granovetter, Mark (1973) 'The Strength of Weak Ties'. American Journal of Sociology 78(6):1360-1380
  • Marcus, George. (1998) Ethnography through Thick and Thin. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Newman, Mark, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, and Duncan Watts (2006) The Structure and Dynamics of Networks. Princeton: Princeton University Press.