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Islamic Activism

A Social Movement Theory Approach

Edited by Quintan Wiktorowicz

Publication Year: 2004

"... [Will] have an impact on two important fields of scholarship: social movement theory and the study of Islamic activist movements." -- John Voll, Georgetown University

This volume represents the first comprehensive attempt to incorporate the study of Islamic activism into social movement theory. It argues that the dynamics, processes, and organization of Islamic activism can be understood as important elements of contention that transcend the specificity of "Islam" as a system of meaning and identity and a basis for collective action. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, the contributors show how social movement theory can be utilized to address a wide range of questions about the mobilization of contention in support of Muslim causes. The book covers myriad examples of Islamic activism (Sunni and Shi'a) in eight countries (Arab and non-Arab), including case studies of violence and contention, networks and alliances, and culture and framing.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Indiana Series in Middle East Studies

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix

Suppose you wanted to appropriate insights from some visibly vigorous body of theory for description and explanation of some phenomenon to which that body of theory had not yet been systematically applied. You might, for example, think that chaos theory had something valuable to say about corporate corruption...

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Introduction Islamic Activism and Social Movement Theory

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pp. 1-34

In October 2001, the U.S. decision to launch a military campaign in Afghanistan in response to the September 11 attacks by al-Qaeda unleashed a maelstrom of protest throughout the Muslim world. Despite the variegated contexts of activism and the multivocality of the demonstrations, several common...

Part I Violence and Contention

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pp. 35

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One From Marginalization to Massacres A Political Process Explanation of GIA Violence in Algeria

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pp. 37-60

In 1997, the Armed Islamic Group (Groupe Islamique Arm

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Two Violence as Contentionin the Egyptian Islamic Movement

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pp. 61-88

In the 1990s, Islamic political violence escalated dramatically, frequently embroiling broader publics in conflict. In Algeria, the civil war between a nebulous Islamic insurgency and the military-backed regime led to more than 120,000 casualties, including substantial civilian deaths. The brutality of the...

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Three Repertoires of Contention in Contemporary Bahrain

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pp. 89-111

On the morning of November 25, 1994, runners taking part in a charity marathon s ponsored by a major Saudi investment company, Round Table Pizza, and the Hash House Harriers set out from Bahrain’s capital city, Manama, and headed into the villages that ring the metropolis to the west...

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Four Hamas as Social Movement

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pp. 112-140

The Harakat al-Muqawima al-Islamiyya (Islamic Resistance Movement), better known as Hamas, has elicited distinct reactions from American policymakers and academics. In official circles, Hamas is considered a straightforward terrorist group. Despite A rab protests that Hamas is a legitimate...

Part II Networks and Alliances

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pp. 141

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Five The Networked World of Islamist Social Movements

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pp. 143-163

Understanding Islamic activism is an urgent concern in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. A wider audience now focuses on groups like al-Qaeda and Egypt’s Islamic Group and strives to understand the meaning, motives, and organization of these movements. Some do so simply to understand a phenomenon...

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Six Islamist Women in Yemen Informal Nodes of Activism

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pp. 164-184

Diane Singerman’s chapter in this volume helps us reconceptualize movements, especially Islamic movements, as large, amorphous networks. This largely arises out of recognition that the formal organizations operating in the name of a social movement do not operate in isolation and cannot always encapsulate...

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Seven Collective Action with and without Islam Mobilizing the Bazaar in Iran

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pp. 185-204

Although most “old” social institutions in Iran were destroyed or significantly weakened during the Pahlavi dynasty (1926–1979), the bazaar survived, even flourished, despite numerous challenges by central state authorities and shifting economic and political conditions. During the 1977–1979...

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Eight The Islah Party in Yemen Political Opportunities and Coalition Building in a Transitional Polity

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pp. 205-228

Long before the September 11 attacks, scholars and policymakers sought to understand the motives, objectives, behavior, and ideological bases of Islamist groups, ranging from underground extremist cells to formal political parties working within pluralist systems. One of the central ( but often unspoken)...

Part II Culture and Framing

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pp. 229

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NineInterests, Ideas, and IslamistOutreach in Egypt

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pp. 231-249

The rise of Islamic activism among urban, educated youth in Egypt in the 1980s and early 1990s poses something of a puzzle for students of collective action. Under the shadow of Egypt’s authoritarian state, even nonviolent reformist...

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Ten Making Conversation Permissible Islamism and Reform in Saudi Arabia

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pp. 250-269

We are only beginning to understand how a social movement emerges under conditions of political authoritarianism and stringent social norms that militate against speaking out. In this chapter, I seek to explain the dynamics of mobilization where associations are prohibited; the voices of opposition where...

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Eleven Opportunity Spaces, Identity, and Islamic Meaning in Turkey

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pp. 270-288

In Turkey, Turgut Özal’s (1980–1993) program of economic liberalization created an assortment of new “opportunity spaces”—social sites and vehicles for activism and the dissemination of meaning, identity, and cultural codes. These opportunity spaces included independent newspapers, TV stations...

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Conclusion Social Movement Theoryand Islamic Studies

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pp. 289-304

Over the past generation, the fields of social movement theory and Islamic studies have followed parallel trajectories, with few glances across the chasm that has separated them. This volume helps to bridge that chasm, offering insights from Islamic movements to contribute to social movement theory...


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pp. 305-306


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pp. 307-316

E-ISBN-13: 9780253110763
E-ISBN-10: 0253110769
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253342812

Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 3 figures, 1 index
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: Indiana Series in Middle East Studies