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The Calligraphic StateTextual Domination and History in a Muslim Society$
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Brinkley Messick

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520076051

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520076051.001.0001

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(p.251) Conclusion
The Calligraphic State

Brinkley Messick

University of California Press

The calligraphic state was a phenomenon anchored in the complex authority relations of a spectrum of writings and associated institutions. The characterization of the shari'a as a general societal discourse rather than as “Islamic law” placed emphasis on a historical transition to the codified and legislated form of law. Shari'a codification, new methods of instruction, changes in court procedures, and legal-document registration are among the diverse expressions of a fundamental reordering of Yemeni society. The “calligraphic state” is itself a construct, referring neither to a specific polity and its dissolution nor to a particular discursive moment and its transformation. It is instead a composite of historical materials and must finally give way to the phenomena out of which it was built.

Keywords:   calligraphic state, shari'a, law, codification, court procedures, Yemeni society

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