Miniature Mushafs and the Landscape of Affordances
Keywords:Islam, Qur’an, mushaf, affordances, semantic, perfomative and iconic dimensions of sacred texts, kawaii
The aim of this article is to address the question of why miniature Qur'ans have been and still are desirable objects. The question is approached with the help of the concept of "affordances" (Gibson 1986; Knappett 2005), or the different "action possibilities" that material objects present to different organisms, including humans. Affordances are relational in character, and dependent upon the organism's anatomical, psychological, and in the case of a human, cultural and social set-up and contexts. The concept of affordances is combined with James Watts' theoretical distinction between three different dimensions (semantic, performative, and iconic) of how humans interact with and relate to sacred texts. The result is a set of possible, and not necessarily mutually exclusive, explanations why miniature Qur'ans are desirable objects, in what contexts, and to whom.
Buckley, Ralf C. 2016. “Aww: The Emotion of Perceiving Cuteness.” Frontiers in Psychology 7: 1740. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01740
Cho, Sokyung. 2012. Aesthetic and Value Judgment of Neotenous Objects: Cuteness as a Design Factor and its Effects on Product Evaluation. Doctoral dissertation. University of Michigan.
Cho, Sokyung, Richard Gonzales, and Carolyn Yoon. 2011. “Cross-Cultural Difference in the Preference of Cute Products: Asymmetric Dominance Effect with Product Designs.” In Diversity and Unity: Proceedings of IASDR2011, edited by N.F.M. Roozenburg, L.L. Chen, and P.J. Stappers, 1–7. IASDR: Deft.
Dale, Joshua P. 2016. “Cute Studies: An Emerging Field.” East Asian Journal of Popular Culture 2: 5–13. https://doi.org/10.1386/eapc.2.1.5_2
Davidsen, Markus A. 2016. “The Religious Affordance of Fiction: A Semiotic Approach.” Religion 46: 521–549. https://doi.org/10.1080/0048721X.2016.1210392
Foxhall, Lin. 2015. “Introduction: Miniaturization.” World Archaeology 47(1): 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1080/00438243.2015.997557
Gade, Anna M. 2009. “Recitation.” In The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an, edited by Andrew Rippin, 481–493. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Gibson, James J. 1986. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. New York: Psychology Press.
Gould, Stephen J. 1979. “Mickey Mouse Meets Konrad Lorenz.” Natural History 88: 30–36.
Greene, Joshua D. 2013. Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them. New York: Penguin Press.
Haidt, Jonathan. 2001. “The Emotional Dog and Its Rational Tail: A Social Intuitionist Approach to Moral Judgment.” Psychological Review 108: 814–834. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.108.4.814
Ingold, Tim. 2000. The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. London: Routledge.
Kahneman, Daniel. 2011. Thinking: Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Keinan, Giora. 2002. “The Effects of Stress and Desire for Control on Superstitious Behavior.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28: 102–108. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167202281009
Knappett, Carl. 2005. “The Affordances of Things: A Post-Gibsonian Perspective on the Relationality of Mind and Matter.” In Rethinking Materiality: The Engagement of Mind with the Material World, edited by Elizabeth Demarrais, Christopher Gosden, Lord Colin Renfrew, 43–51. McDonald Institute for Archeological Research: Cambridge.
———. 2012. “Meaning in Miniature: Semiotic Networks in Material Culture.” In Excavating the Mind: Cross Sections through Culture, Cognition and Materiality, edited by Mads Jessen, Niels Johanssen, and Helle Juel Jensen, 87–109. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.
Komter, Aafke. 2007. “Gifts and Social Relations.” International Sociology 22: 93–107. https://doi.org/10.1177/0268580907070127
Langin-Hooper, Stephanie M. 2015. “Fascination with the Tiny: Social Negotiation Through Miniatures in Hellenistic Babylonia.” World Archaeology 47: 60–79. https://doi.org/10.1080/00438243.2014.991803
Lewis, David. 2013. Impulse: Why We Do What We Do Without Knowing Why We Do It. Cambridge: Belknap. https://doi.org/10.4159/harvard.9780674729902
McAuliffe, Jane D. 2009. “Exegetical Sciences.” In The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an, edited by Andrew Rippin, 403–419. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Meri, Josef W. 2001. “Ritual and the Qur’an.” In Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an [online edition], edited by Jane D. McAuliffe. Leiden: Brill.
Millhauser, Steven. 1983. “The Fascination of the Miniature.” Grand Street 2: 128–135. https://doi.org/10.2307/25006539
Nittono, Hiroshi. 2016. “The Two-Layer Model of ‘Kawaii’”: A Behavioural Science Framework for Understanding Kawaii and Cuteness.” East Asian Journal of Popular Culture 2: 79–95. https://doi.org/10.1386/eapc.2.1.79_1
Olmsted, A.D. 1993. “Hobbies and Serious Leisure.” World Leisure & Recreation 35: 27–32. https://doi.org/10.1080/10261133.1993.10559138
Paraskevaidis, Pawlos and Konstantinos Andriotis. 2015. “Values of Souvenirs as Commodities.” Tourism Management 48: 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2014.10.014
Rosch, Eleanor. 1978. “Principles of Categorization.” In Cognition and Categorization, edited by Eleanor Rosch and Barbara B. Lloyd, 27–48. Hillsdale: Erlhaum.
Sherman, Gary D. and Jonathan Haidt. 2011. “Cuteness and Disgust: The Humanizing and Dehumanizing Effects of Emotion.” Emotion Review 3: 245–251. https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073911402396
Suit, Natalia K. 2013. “Mushaf and the Material Boundaries of the Qur’an.” In Iconic Books and Texts, edited by James W. Watts, 189–206. Sheffield: Equinox.
Svensson, Jonas. 2010. “Relating, Revering, and Removing: Muslim Views on the Use, Power, and Disposal of Divine Words.” In The Death of Sacred Texts: Ritual Disposal and Renovation of Texts in World Religions, edited by Kristina Myrvold, 31–53. London: Ashgate.
Swanson, Kristen K. and Dallen J. Timothy. 2012. “Souvenirs: Icons of Meaning, Commercialization and Commoditization.” Tourism Management 33: 489–499. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2011.10.007
Tajfel, Henri. 1970. “Experiments in Intergroup Discrimination.” Scientific American 223: 96–102. https://doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican1170-96
———. (ed.) 2010. Social Identity and Intergroup Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Taves, Ann. 2013. “Non-Ordinary Powers: Charisma, Special Affordances and the Study of Religion.” In Mental Culture: Classical Social Theory and the Cognitive Science of Religion, edited by Dimitris Xygalatas and William W. McCorkle, 80–97. Durham: Acumen.
Tooby, John. 2017. “Coalitional Instincts.” Edge. 2017: What Scientific Term or Concept Ought to be More Widely Known? https://www.edge.org/response-detail/27168
Ibrahim-70. 2010. “Wearing the Qur’an Around the Neck. Permissable?” Web page no longer accessible. Orginal print out with author.
Watts, James W. 2013. “The Three Dimensions of Scriptures.” In Iconic Books and Texts, edited by James W. Watts, 9–32. Sheffield: Equinox.
Withagen, R. and M. van Wermeskerken. 2010. “The Role of Affordances in the Evolutionary Process Reconsidered: A Niche Construction Perspective.” Theory & Psychology 20: 489–510. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959354310361405
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.