From Nationalism to Revolutionary Islam
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An analysis of nationalism and the role Islam plays in the politics of the Middle and Near East.
This study of dominant social movements in the Middle and Near East by a group of social scientists and historians is the first attempt to bring nationalism and the contemporary Islamic movements into a unified thematic perspective. The process of national economic and political integration supplies the unifying context for the analyses of the various social movements to which it gives rise. The examination of nationalism in general, and of the rise of the Arab nationalist movement in Greater Syria in the early decades of the century in particular, is followed by a close analysis of the interplay of ethnic identity and Islam in the local politics of the tribal North-Western Frontier Province of Pakistan. The politicization of Islam in Algeria, Turkey and Egypt is then explored and explained, together with the characteristics of the emergent Islamic movements. The last three essays cover Shiite Islam in Iran since the opening decade of the century, focusing on various components and aspects of the Islamic movement which culminated in the revolution of 1979. The case-studies thus chart the recent upsurge of revolutionary Islam and the concomitant decline of nationalist movements in the contemporary Middle and Near East. The introduction offers an analytical perspective for the integration of this major theme which is forcefully suggested by the juxtaposition of the essays.
Said Amir Arjomand is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and author of Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam.