[P2975] The Transformation of Political Islam

Created by Francesco Cavatorta
Tuesday, 11/20/12 1:30pm


Despite their less than decisive contribution to the Arab uprisings, Islamist movements have proved to be popular electoral choices. It follows that Political Islam remains an important actor in the region. Moving beyond the traditional debates such as the compatibility between Islamism and democracy and 'moderation versus radicalism,' the panel seeks to examine the progressive embrace of the universal rhetorical tools of political legitimisation on the part of Islamists: democracy and human rights. The panel addresses the reasons behind the rhetorical and, in many cases, practical adoption of such universal values in three loci. First, despite being criticised as western imports early on, they have been fully incorporated in their discourse. How did this transformation occurc How have these notions been 'translated' and adopted by different Islamic groupsc Second, it looks at the specifics of the 'appropriation' of the discourse of democracy and human rights. As essentially contested concepts, it is very important to tease out the meanings that have been given to their conceptualisation in the context of Islamism. How are these values internalised, if at all, and what kind of role do they play in their programmatic choices and concrete actionsr Third is the concrete influence on 'every day practices' of the adoption of the rhetoric of democracy and human rights. How do rhetorical references to both concepts impact the behaviour of leaders and members in their interactions with other political and social actorsn
Going beyond the 'moderation literature', the panel investigates the mechanisms that transform and produce a new 'meaning' of the concepts of democracy and human rights. Is it in fact a new meaning, or simply a watered down version of the same concept, i.e. human rights in Islame How does it come that Islamists privilege this rhetoric What are the instruments of political contestation and activism that are derived from the filtering of global rhetoric to local contextse Where does this filtering take place within Islamist movementsi These are the questions that the panel intends to address.


The Germany-based Gerda Henkel Foundation


The Germany-based Gerda Henkel Foundation


Pol Science



Francesco Cavatorta

(Universite Laval)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Organizer; Presenter;

Vincent Durac

(University College Dublin)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Paola Rivetti

(Dublin City University)
Associate Professor in Politics and IR School of Law and Government Dublin City University
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;