Political Islam: A Critical Reader, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Political Islam

A Critical Reader, 1st Edition

Edited by Frederic Volpi


488 pages

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Paperback: 9780415560283
pub: 2010-09-29
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As the topic of political Islam gains increased visibility in international politics and current affairs, it has become more difficult to navigate the vast literature that is devoted to explaining this phenomenon. This reader provides the student with an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the study of political Islam. Offering a clear route to the most influential literature in the field, the diverse range of viewpoints presented allows students to obtain a detailed, authoritative and critical perspective on the most pressing questions of the post-9/11 era.

With detailed introductory chapters and clear presentation of existing literature, thematically-arranged sections cover:

  • modern understandings and explanations of Islamism
  • the emergence and development of Islamist groups
  • political responses to the phenomenon
  • democracy and democratization
  • multiculturalism
  • political violence and terrorism
  • globalization
  • the future of political Islam.

This overview of political Islam will help students at all levels to appreciate its many manifestations and dimensions. A relevant text to introductory courses on history, international affairs, government and sociology, this reader is an essential tool for students of the Middle East, Muslim politics, religion in politics and Islamism.


"Frédéric Volpi has collected an impressive reader of short articles from many of the scholars who have been writing about the issue for the past two decades."

Daniel Martin Varisco, Review Essay: The Perpetual Politics of Islam, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction: Critically Studying Political Islam Part 2: Modern Understandings and Explanations of Islamism 1. What is Political Islam? Charles Hirschkind 2. Being Muslim: Islam, Islamism and Identity Politics Salwa Ismail 3. The Forgotten Swamp: Navigating Political Islam Guilain Denoeux 4. Deciphering Islam's Multiple Voices: Intellectual Luxury or Strategic Necessity? Mohammed Ayoob 5. Excerpt from Chapter Two From National Struggle to the Disillusionments of "Recolonization": The Triple Temporality of Islamism François Burgat, translated by Patrick Hutchinson Part 3: Political Islam, the State and Political Power 6. Visions of an Islamic Republic: Good Governance According to the Islamists Gudrun Kramer 7. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and Terrorism Mahmood Mamdani 8. Religion and Realpolitik: Islamic Responses to the Gulf War James Piscatori 9. The Islamist Impasse Salman Sayyid Part 4: Political Islam and Democracy 10. Public Islam and the Problem of Democratization Robert W. Hefner 11. The Path to Moderation: Strategy and Learning in the Formation of Egypt’s Wasat Party Carrie Rosefsky Wickham 12. Social Movement Theory Janine Clark 13. The Politics of Presence Asef Bayat Part 5: Islamist Movements in Multicultural Settings 14. Beyond Migration: Islam as a Transnational Public Space John R. Bowen 15. Trying to Understand French Secularism Talal Asad 16. Islam in Public: New Visibilities and New Imaginaries Nilufer Gole 17. The Predicament of Diaspora and Millennial Islam: Reflections on September 11, 2001 Pnina Werbner 18. Islam in the West or Western Islam? The Disconnect of Religion and Culture Olivier Roy Part 6: Political Islam and Political Violence 19. A Genealogy of Radical Islam Quintan Wiktorowicz 20. Global Jihadism After the Iraq War Thomas Hegghammer 21. The Origins and Development of the Jihadist Movement: From Anti-communism to Terrorism Gilles Kepel 22. Accounting for Al Qaeda Faisal Devji Part 7: The Globalization of Islamism 23. Reimagining the Umma Peter Mandaville 24. New Medinas: The Tablighi Jama‘at in America and Europe Barbara Metcalf 25. Civic Virtue and Religious Reason: An Islamic Counterpublic Charles Hirschkind 26. Globalization and Diversification of Islamic Movements: Three Turkish Cases Ahmet T. Kuru Part 8: The Future of Political Islam 27. The Future of Political Islam Graham E. Fuller 28. Islamists and the Politics of Consensus Daniel Brumberg 29. Ethical Formation and Politics of Individual Autonomy in Contemporary Egypt Saba Mahmood 30. The End of Islamism? Turkey’s Muslimhood Model Jenny White

About the Editor

Frédéric Volpi is Deputy Director of the Institute of Middle East and Central Asia Studies and Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of a number of books on political Islam and democracy in the Muslim world, and is coordinator of the BRISMES research network.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / General
RELIGION / Islam / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies