Islamic Resurgence in the Arab World

Islamic Resurgence in the Arab World

Islamic Resurgence in the Arab World

Islamic Resurgence in the Arab World

Excerpt

This book is a contribution to a growing body of literature on the contemporary resurgence or revival of Islam. It is different, however, in a number of ways. First, its scope is confined to the Arab countries, rather than to larger entities such as the Middle East or the Islamic world. The objective is to provide a greater degree of similarity among the countries studied. Second, the book includes two kinds of contributions: theoretical explanatory articles that suggest different frameworks for the understanding of the Islamic resurgence in me Arab countries, and several case studies that enable the reader to examine the relevance and usefulness of these theoretical perspectives. Third, the book is written by a group of social scientists, and therefore, it aspires to be useful not only to students of Arab and Middle Eastern politics but also to social scientists interested in social movements and the dynamics of modernization.

Despite the increasing interest in the subject, our knowledge and appreciation of contemporary Islamic resurgence seems to suffer from a number of shortcomings. We tend too often to see Islamic resurgence in light of the political events in Iran and the hostage crisis. Moreover, we tend to lump together as Islamic resurgence a multitude of events that are, in fact, independent phenomena with different consequences and implications. There is also an irresistible temptation for some scholars to find a “master reason” or a “grand theory” to interpret these numerous events. Finally, there is a shortage of data on those Islamic groups that are today mushrooming in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

The chapters of this book deal with one or more of four interrelated questions.

1. What is meant by an Islamic resurgence and what are its contemporary manifestations as evidenced by governmental policies and dissident political groups?

2. What are the ideologies of the Islamic resurgence and what particular policy demands do Islamic groups advance?

3. What are the social bases of these groups and what social strata or classes do they appeal to most?

4. How do we explain the phenomenon of the Islamic resurgence and how is it related to the process of modernization in Arab society?

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