Publishing as a Tool for the Formation and Accumulation of Symbolic Capital in Russia
The Medina Publishing House
Keywords:Medina Publishing, Damir Mukhetdinov, Islamic Renovationism, muftiate, the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation (DUM RF), Iman Publishing
Medina Publishing is one of the oldest and largest Islamic publishers in Russia in terms of volume. This article examines its evolution from a project publishing work on local history and the Nizhny Novgorod Tatars to a publisher of modern theological literature written by representatives of the Renovationist movement. Medina characteristically distributes most of its books, newspapers, and magazines free. Its core aims are educational, image-building, and ideological in nature. This article looks at Medina’s role as a tool for the formation and accumulation of symbolic capital by one of Russia’s Islamic religious organisations (muftiates), the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation (DUM RF). The author notes Medina’s unique position in the Russian publishing market as a publisher focused on literature for the educated reader with special knowledge in the fields of religious studies, philology, etc. Medina’s publications encourage readers to believe that the centre of Islamic theological thought in Russia is at DUM RF, legitimating the claims of the muftiate and its leader to spiritual leadership of the Russian ummah. Both DUM RF and Medina focus their efforts on building the profile of intellectuals as people government officials, as those whose decisions govern the fate of religious associations in Russia, can work with rather than as representatives of an alien, incomprehensible, and hostile force (which is how bureaucrats in Russia have viewed Islam for centuries).
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