Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Boxes

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

This book is the off shoot of my teaching work at the Institut d’études politiques, University of Lyon, France, and of a project undertaken at my research center (Triangle UMR- CNRS). I address the political regimes of the Arab world and the two great ideologies, radical nationalism and political Islam, that played an important role in the postcolonial era. My approach is analytical and critical, aiming to shed light on the logic and contradictions of a political fi eld marked...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

The analysis offered in this book focuses on a couple of ideologies that are both twins and rivals: Radical Arab nationalism and Islamism, both of which began with popular upheavals to change the status quo. The text demonstrates how the two ideologies are anchored in the histories and cultures of societies aspiring to modernity, with all their frustrations and contradictory expectations. Th e Arab world carries the burden of a rich religious past; because of this, it must face...

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Part I. Origins and Perspectives of Arab Nationalism

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pp. 11-14

The Arab world is a vast political entity that extends from Morocco to Iraq. For centuries it has had relationships of exchange and confl ict with Europe. Prior to the seventeenth century, the military rapport de force between the two was more or less equal; the change in favor of Europe coincided with the gradual weakening of the Ottoman Empire. Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition to Egypt in 1798 demonstrated the military, scientific, and economic superiority of Europe. It opened the...

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1 The Emergence and Development of Arab Nationalism

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pp. 15-44

Since the nineteenth century, any community that failed to organize itself into a nation- state risked occupation by foreign powers. The Westphalian order that had emerged in Europe two centuries earlier had spread all over the planet, imposing the concept of the nation- state; no population could escape it. Western Europe, with its overwhelming military and economic strength, was able to propagate its own form of political organization, the nation- state. The other...

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2 The Ideological Limitations of Radical Arab Nationalism

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pp. 45-82

Radical Arab nationalists took over in several Arab countries in the 1950s and 1960s by promising the masses that they would catch up with the West, develop the economy, and liberate Palestine. Two decades later none of these promises had been kept, and the countries are still unable to generate sufficient wealth to supply the people’s needs. It is useful at this point to analyze the failure of radical nationalism—above all, in countries like Algeria and Iraq, endowed with wealth coming from oil....

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3 Nationalism and Nation

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pp. 83-120

There have been many studies of nationalism dealing with its historical and ideological aspects. It would be impossible to mention them all; I use some only to develop my theme of Arab nationalism’s failure to construct the political and economic modernity that it promised. We need to put the notions of nationalism and nation firmly in their theoretical and historical contexts. There is no preexisting path leading straight to the formation of the nation, and there...

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Part II. The Ideological and Political Dynamics of Islamism

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pp. 121-124

Ever since 9/11 it has been difficult to discuss Islamism without it being associated with violent radical groups like al- Qaeda or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS. These radical groups are a minority when compared with a movement that is supported by a big portion of the population whose expectations and aspirations it carries. Under pressure from the Western media and Western public opinion, it is the radical wing that attracts the attention of researchers...

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4 Islamism as Cultural Representation and Ideological Will

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pp. 125-170

Islamism is a worldview with a cognitive and ethical dimension that incorporates the project of making life on Earth consistent with the divine norm that ensures well- being in this world and salvation in the next. It is a cultural representation that seeks to reconcile being with what should be by an act of ideological will. Transmitted from generation to generation, religious culture polarizes existence as haram/halal, dounia/akhira, sadek/batel, hakika/kedb. The semantic...

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5 Islamism and Democracy

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pp. 171-216

The declared aim of Islamists is to establish a state that represents the people, founded on the ethics of the Qur’an—and on sharia, which indicates the right way. They are not against democracy per se, provided it does not give elected representatives the right to trespass on the domain of God, specifically the laws relating to questions of marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Th is law is locked into the sacred, thus forbidding man from adjusting it in tune with the evolution of...

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6 The Ideological and Political Perspectives of Islamism

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pp. 217-250

In the two preceding chapters we discussed the cultural origins and ideological contradictions of Islamism. In this final chapter we put all this in perspective within the context of the ideological breakup of Arab societies that have lost their cultural coherence after encountering the West. The heterogeneity of society is irreversible and will only increase with globalization and the transnational currents that undermine it. Sandwiched between globalization that...

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Conclusion

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pp. 251-254

Born out of a response to European domination, radical Arab nationalism won over many segments of society with its goal of establishing modern, independent nations that would earn international respect. It promised to close economic, scientific, and military gaps with the West in order to improve social conditions—employment, housing, education, health, and so on—for the poorest members of society. Not only did this dream not become a reality but radical Arab...

Index

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pp. 255-274

About the Author

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p. 275