The Symbolic Scenarios of Islamism: A Study in Islamic Political Thought, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Symbolic Scenarios of Islamism

A Study in Islamic Political Thought, 1st Edition

By Andrea Mura


258 pages

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The Symbolic Scenarios of Islamism initiates a dialogue between the discourse of three of the most discussed figures in the history of the Sunni Islamic movement—Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, and Osama bin Laden—and contemporary debates across religion and political theory, providing a crucial foundation upon which to situate current developments in world politics. Redressing the inefficiency of the terms in which the debate on Islam and Islamism is generally conducted, the book examines the role played by tradition, modernity, and transmodernity as major "symbolic scenarios" of Islamist discourses, highlighting the internal complexity and dynamism of Islamism. By uncovering forms of knowledge that have hitherto gone unnoticed or have been marginalised by traditional and dominant approaches to politics, accounting for central political ideas in non-Western sources and in the Global South, the book provides a unique contribution towards rethinking the nature of citizenship, antagonism, space, and frontiers required today. While offering valuable reading for scholars of Islamic studies, religious studies and politics, it provides a critical perspective for academics with an interest in discourse theory, post-colonial theory, political philosophy, and comparative political thought.


‘Amidst the frenzy of scholarship and commentary on contemporary Islamism, Andrea Mura’s The Symbolic Scenarios of Islamism distinguishes itself by offering a deeply insightful exploration of Islamism understood as political thought and as the basis of political identity. Undoubtedly one of the most original treatments of the subject to appear in recent years.’ – Peter Mandaville, George Mason University, USA

‘The strength of the book lies in bringing complexity, nuance and an appreciation of historical difference to that over-loaded, over-simplified and now sadly ubiquitous term "Islamism". His individual approach to three distinct figures within that bloated term is long overdue amongst Western theorists.’ – Ian Almond, Georgetown University, Qatar

Table of Contents



1 Approaching Islamism

2 Modernity and Tradition: Discursive Genealogies

3 Globalisation and Transmodernity



4 The Discourse of Hasan al-Banna: A Territorial Trajectory

5 The Discourse of Sayyid Qutb: A Transitional Trajectory

6 The Discourse of Osama bin Laden: A Transterritorial Trajectory


About the Author

Andrea Mura is a Lecturer in Comparative Political Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. He has published widely in the fields of political philosophy, psychoanalysis and comparative political thought, with attention to areas of contemporary applied relevance such as citizenship, migration, borders and the role of religion and global capitalism in contemporary Europe and the Middle East.

About the Series

Contemporary Thought in the Islamic World

Contemporary Thought in the Islamic World promotes new directions in scholarship in the study of Islamic thinking. Muslim scholars of today challenge deeply ingrained dichotomies and binaries. New ideas have stimulated an upcoming generation of progressive Muslim thinkers and scholars of Islam to radically rethink the ways in which immediate and emergent issues affecting the contemporary Islamic world are to be assessed. This series aims to take the field beyond the usual historical-philological and social science-driven approaches, and to insert the study of Islam and the Muslim world into far wider multi-disciplinary inquiries on religion and religiosity in an increasingly interconnected world.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Religion, Politics & State
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Islamic Studies