Gabriele Marranci

Gabriele Marranci
Gabriele Marranci

Born February 4, 1973 (1973-02-04) (age 38)
Florence, Italy.
Residence Singapore
Nationality Italian
Institutions National University of Singapore
Cardiff University
Alma mater Queen's University Belfast
University of Bologna

Gabriele Marranci (b. 1973, Florence, Italy) is an anthropologist working on religion with a specialization in Muslim societies. He is currently Visiting Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore.[1] and Senior Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK.[2] Marranci is the founding editor of the first anthropological journal of Islamic studies, Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life.[3] Together with Bryan Turner he also edits the book series Muslims in Global Societies.[4]


Education and academic history

During his training as an anthropologist, Marranci studied the relationship between gender and musical identity in immigrants of Algerian origin and later wrote about various aspects of raï music among Algerian immigrants in Paris, France, based on his year-long anthropological fieldwork there.[5][6] Moving beyond an examination of raï in its North African context, Marranci focused upon the development of raï from its beginnings in Algeria to "Beur-raï" in France.[7] He received his MA degree in Anthropology of Music in 1999 at the University of Bologna, Italy and also completed a diploma in piano performance at the Conservatoire Girolamo Frescobaldi, a musical conservatory in Ferrara, Italy, in 1998.

In 2000, Marranci moved to Northern Ireland to study for a Ph.D. in social anthropology at Queen's University Belfast. Two years later, he became a teaching assistant within the same department. After conducting fieldwork with the Northern Irish Muslim community under the supervision of Kay Milton, he completed his PhD in 2003 with a thesis entitled The Adhan among the Bells: The Muslim Community in Northern Ireland. He published several articles[8] and book chapters[9] based on his fieldwork in Northern Ireland and also used material gathered there to furnish his first two books Jihad Beyond Islam and The Anthropology of Islam with ethnographic examples. From 2003 to 2008, Marranci was Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen.


Marranci[10] has explored numerous topics concerning Muslims and Islam varying from general concepts such as arts, music, gender, ethnicity, education, political Islam and social issues to more specific ones such as jihad, the ummah and the idea of justice. His areas of interest further include identity and emotions, urban sociology, Muslim migration/immigration, criminology, fundamentalism, secularisation processes, ethnomusicology, and the relationship between anthropological research and cognitive neuroscience. All of these seemingly highly varied topics, however, are linked to his main social anthropological interest: human identity and self.


Marranci’s current research focuses on young Malay Muslims (aged 12–25) and the issues that they may encounter in contemporary Singapore. Based on participant observation and interviews with male and female residents of welfare homes, parents, educators and organizations, his topic investigates the exposure of young Malays to what he terms as ‘global social threats’ and also the effects of a widening generational gap in the context of the recent 2008-2009 economic crisis.[11]

England and Scotland

Between 2004 and 2007, Marranci conducted in-depth research among Muslims in prison – the longest study of its kind to date.[12] Funded by the British Academy,[13] the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland[14] and the University of Aberdeen,[15] this research focused on the experience of Muslims in prison in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and how being behind bars impacted their identity and experience of Islam. Using participant observation as a primary research methodology, Marranci conducted over 170[16] interviews with current and former Muslim prisoners and their families.[17] This meant taking part in Friday prayers, Islamic lessons, observing imams' activities and spending time with the prisoners in their cells and during their association time – at times for up to 10 hours a day. As far as former prisoners are concerned, this has also included living for a short time with the former prisoners' families and following their lives once released from prison.

Marranci presented some of his research at the 2007 IQRA Trust Annual Lecture at the House of Lords.[18] His research has also attracted attention from newspapers such as The Guardian,[19] Le Figaro,[20] and Daily Times (Pakistan),[21] among others.[22] In addition, he has been interviewed for a documentary for the BBC.[23][24]

Northern Ireland

Between 2001 and 2003 Marranci carried out fieldwork among the local Muslim community, primarily in Belfast. His research interests included cultural influences, religious modifications, the concept of ummah, children's education, Muslim associations, community organization, child-parent relationships, identity conflicts, and women. He also studied identity construction among Muslim migrants and their children, proposing an interpretation of the reasons for which Muslims in the West may radicalize or understand jihad as violent struggle. He has published some of this research in Jihad beyond Islam and, along with findings from his research with Muslims in prison, in Understanding Muslim Identity, Rethinking Fundamentalism.


Between 1999 and 2000, Marranci studied Muslim immigrant women and their daughters in Pisa.[citation needed] His fieldwork centered on family roles, women's associations, diaspora, myth of return, private vs. public, female genital mutilation in immigration contexts and social relationships.[citation needed]


Between 1998 and 1999, Marranci conducted fieldwork in both Paris and Lyon with first and second-generation Algerian immigrants, focussing on the use of urban space, identity conflicts, cultural expressions, gender, transnationalism and local and global dimensions.[citation needed]

Selected bibliography


  1. ^ "NUS Staff Page". Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  2. ^ "Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK". Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  3. ^ "Contemporary Islam - Dynamics of Muslim Life". Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  4. ^ "Muslims in Global Societies Series". Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  5. ^ Marranci, Gabriele (2000). "La Musique Raï: Entre Métissage et World Music Moderne". Cahiers de Musiques Traditionnelles 13: 137–150. 
  6. ^ Marranci, G. (2001), A complex identity and its musical representation; Beurs and Raï music in Paris, Music & Anthropology 5; Marranci, G. (2002), Sound Moving Around: Algerian Rai and Pop Music, Musica e Storia vol. 2;
    Marranci, G. (2003), Pop-Raï: from Local Tradition to Globalisation, in G. Plastino (ed.), Mediterranean Mosaic, London and New York: Routledge;
    Marranci, G. (2005), From Orano to Paris: identity, raï music and Algerian immigrants, in D. Cooper and K. Dawe (eds.) The Mediterranean in Music, Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press.
  7. ^ A Bibliographic Review of Raï by Robertson Allen:
  8. ^ Marranci, G. (2003), "We Speak English." Language and Identity processes in Northern Ireland's Muslim Community, Ethnologist 25 (2): 59-77;
    Marranci, G. (2004), Constructing an Islamic Environment in Northern Ireland, Built Environment, 30(1): 5-17.
  9. ^ Marranci, G. (2005), South Asian Muslims in Northern Ireland: their Islamic identity and the aftermath of 11th of September, in T. Abbas (ed.), Muslim Britain: Communities Under Pressure, London: Zed Books;
    Marranci, G. (2006), Muslim Marriages in Northern Ireland, in B. Waldis and R. Byron (eds.), Migration and Marriage; Heterogamy and Homogamy in a Changing World, Munster and London: LIT Verlag;
    Marranci, G. (2006b), The Transmission of Islamic Heritage in Northern Ireland, in M. Nic Craith (ed.), Cultural Heritages as Reflexive Traditions, London, New York: Palgrave Macmillan;
    Marranci, G. (2006c), Muslim in Northern Ireland: dangerous symbols and the use of English, in R. Byron and U. Kockel (eds.), Negotiating Culture: Moving and Mixing: Migration and Boundary Crossing in Twentieth Century Europe, Munster and London: LIT Verlag;
    Marranci, G. (2006d), Faith, Language and Migration: the Case of Muslim Migrants in Scotland and Northern Ireland, in M. Nic Craith and U. Kockel (eds.), Heritages of conflict: history, identity and the future of divided societies, London: Palgrave;
    Marranci, G. (2007), Migration and the Construction of Muslim women's identity in Northern Ireland, in C. Chison, P. Hopkins and M. Kwan (eds.), Geographies of Muslim Identities: Diaspora, Gender, and Belonging, London and New York: Ashgate Publishing.
  10. ^ For a detailed CV of his publications and research activity, see:
  11. ^ "Asia Research Institute Seminar: "Youth-on-the-brink-of-success": Global Social Threats and Malay Youth in Singapore". Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  12. ^ Aberdeen University Media Release April 12, 2007; Aberdeen University Media Release April 13, 2007; Aberdeen University Media Release June 25, 2007.
  13. ^ Summary of research grants given by the British Academy in the 2004-2005 academic year.
  14. ^ Summary of research grants given by The Carnegie Trust in the 2003-2004 academic year.
  15. ^ Aberdeen University Media Release May 18, 2005
  16. ^ From Times Higher Education April 20, 2007.
  17. ^ Description of methodology taken from Marranci's presentation to the House of Lords, Faith Ideology and Fear: the case of current and former Muslim prisoners
  18. ^ "IQRA Trust Prisoner Welfare Annual Lecture". Retrieved 2009-03-16. [dead link]
  19. ^ Travis, Alan (April 13, 2007). "'Tactics backfiring' as jails try to curb radical Islam | UK news | The Guardian". London. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  20. ^ "Le Figaro - International : Les prisons anglaises, vivier de l'islam radical". Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  21. ^ "'Tactics backfiring' as jails try to curb 'radical Islam', Daily Times". Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  22. ^ Mathaba News Network UK considering setting up Muslim-only jails, says daily July 28, 2007; Islam OnlineUK Radicalizing Muslim Prisoners: Study April 13, 2007; and further news items are listed in the Aberdeen University Media Coverage report.
  23. ^ "BBC - London - TV - Radical Insiders". Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  24. ^ BBC Radio 4, Today, Monday June 16, 2008

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