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1 The name of the country is politically significant because it is contested by Greece that insists on FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) or an alternative solution to an on-going ‘battle’ for the name between Greece and Macedonia. Nor does the state of Macedonia coincide with the geographical area of Macedonia that extends to include Aegean Macedonia in Greece and Pirin Macedonia in Bulgaria.
2 Abu-Lughod (1989) argues that Islam(s) are usually studied metonymically. A single practice, such as harem or veiling with concomitant Orientalist stereotypes, is often seen as a determining symptom of Islamic religious ’essence’.
3 For instance, this is a common reference in newspaper issues of a daily Dnevnik, in Macedonian
4 The notion of marginality should be problematized in this context and cannot easily substitute liminality. The common assumption that marginalization means lack of power ignores the fact that the struggle for this worldly power, in fact, can be not only desired but ridiculed. Because many Sufi orders advocate transcendence of this world, margins can be experienced as sacred peripheries rather than disempowerment by Sufi disciples who seek immanence with the divine and externality to the political and the communal (Mills 1998). Also, the portrayal of Sufi orders in the region as marginal obscures the fact that they were historically associated with colonial expansion of the Ottoman Empire into the Balkans and, therefore, were militant organizations despite the spiritual orientation towards transcendentalism. However, liminality, according to Turner, has been defined as interstructural state or a moment of ’transition’ between social roles and statuses, which makes it difficult to apply this concept to Bektashi case without reservations.
5 Strauss defines imaginaries as a form of cultural knowledge and remains critical of its connotations of abstraction and homogenization. I agree with her and think that the same criticism can be applied to political cosmology. Therefore, I emphasize the intrinsic interSUBJECTIVITY and material embodiment of political cosmology.
6 In this proposal, meanings do not refer to deeper symbolic modes of consciousness. Here, meanings are cultural products of interpretations expressed through the language and actions in everyday reality.
7 An alternative conceptualization of the state looks at spatiality, that is, effects of space on political institutions and representations of these effects that keep a particular state an open instead of a closed ‘system’ (Agnew and Corbridge 1995: 79).
8 I don’ know yet if this law has been abrogated or revised since 1990s.
9 To illustrate, Durkheim (ibid.: 47) writes „[religion’s] true function is to make us act and to help us live“.
10 Turner empasises the synthesis of structures and anti-structures as a succession of states or statuses and their attributes or their embodiment in a figure of a chief (example of Ndembu of Zambia).
11 Taussig refers to the state as a factish or a fetish interchangeably. I hesitate to use ’fetish’ instead of factish because I need to excavate the meanings and contents of the use of ’fetish’ in Western scholarship (starting from Marx and Žižek) and to see if it can be transferred to the context of Macedonian Sufi realities.
12 Materialized dimension of the state or political cosmology is crucial because ’factish’ bears connotations of undifferentiated and mystical abstraction when, in fact, the state practices are both concrete and embodied.
13 It is not uncommon among Sufi spiritual leadership to take vows of celibacy.
14 Pirs, or Sufi saints, are revered in different parts of the world, but I can’t claim that this practice can be found in Macedonian context.
15 Sufi spiritual guides are known to sublimate their identity to stress the divine transience of their lives in this world. However, it might be interesting to observe of narrative strategies change in sacred and profane context of dealing with the state regulations that require biographical information (for example, on application forms).