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Culture, Transnationalism, and Civil Society: Aga Khan Social Service Initiatives in Tanzania
Paul J. Kaiser
Saturday, November 30, 1996
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Focusing on the growing transnational community of Ismailis (Muslim Shi'a followers of the Aga Khan), this study analyzes the transnational and cultural characteristics of the Ismaili social service network in the context of state/society relations. There are approximately 20 million Ismailis worldwide in over 20 countries throughout the world, and they have developed--under the auspices of the Aga Khan--a sophisticated private sector nonprofit social service network of hospitals and schools that serves the health care and education needs of Ismailis and non-Ismailis. Based on research and interviews conducted in Europe and Africa from 1992-1995, this study shows how a strong society can contribute significantly to the social service goals of developing nations. It also provides information on the Ismailis of Tanzania which has not previously been available in the west, and so will be of interest to scholars of comparative politics, religious, development theory, and African Studies.
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