The Management of Islamic Activism

Salafis, the Muslim Brotherhood, and State Power in Jordan

By Quintan Wiktorowicz

Subjects: Middle East Studies
Series: SUNY series in Middle Eastern Studies
Paperback : 9780791448366, 212 pages, October 2000
Hardcover : 9780791448359, 212 pages, October 2000

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Table of contents

List of Tables



The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis
Organizations, Informal Networks, and Collective Action
The Political Context of Islamic Activism in Jordan
The Structure of the Book


1. The Management of Collective Action


Political Liberalization and Organizational Growth
The Conditionality of Participation
Corporatism and Self-Discipline: The General Union of Voluntary Societies
Social Control and Alternative Forms of Collective Action


2. State Power and the Regulation of Islam


Islamic Legitimacy and State Power
Religious Legitimacy in Jordan
The Mosque
Imams, Preachers, and the Khutha
Islamic Law and the Fatwa
Ramadan and the Effect of State Control
State Islamic Organizations


3. Islamic Social Movement Organizations and the Muslim Brotherhood


The Islamic NGO Community: An Overview
The Muslim Brotherhood and Cooperation
Muslim Brotherhood Organizations


4. The Salafi Movement and Informal Networks


Salafi Ideology
The Salafi Challenge
Organizational Experience
Informal Networks and Salafi Activism




Shows how the laws governing civil society are used to regulate Islamic activism in Jordan.


The Management of Islamic Activism examines the relationship between the changing nature of state power and patterns of Islamic activism in Jordan. Using extensive fieldwork, the author demonstrates how regimes continue to constrain the organization of Islamic opposition even after the advent of political liberalization. In the case of the Jordanian regime, control has been maintained through the "management of collective action"—the regulation of opposition through a complex array of bureaucratic and legal mechanisms. More specifically, laws governing civil society organizations are manipulated to encourage the formation of moderate Islamic groups while disempowering more radical activists. As a result, the radical activists have formed informal social networks that operate outside the state's control. Composed of like-minded Islamists, these networks evade attempts to manage Islamic activism through a loose web of personal relationships, small group interactions, and informal meetings. A comparison of the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan demonstrates how state management strategies shape these patterns of social movement mobilization.

Quintan Wiktorowicz is Research Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Government at Dartmouth College.


"Wiktorowicz demonstrates the complex nature of the democratization 'facade' in Jordan. He illustrates the subtle methods by which the state continues to prevent real dissension and/or democratization, and furthermore demonstrates how different opposition groups react to these restraints and why. This is a pioneering work on civil society in Jordan and is the result of excellent field work."— Janine A. Clark, University of Guelph

"By focusing on informal networks, Wiktorowicz strongly suggests that previous emphasis on the formal organizations of civil society in explaining political outcomes may have been misplaced, particularly so with authoritarian states." — Glenn Robinson, Naval Postgraduate School