The Contending Hegemonies of Islamism: From Contextual Modernism to Reactionary Modernism

Document Type : Original Article


1 Associate Professor of Political Sciences, University of Mazandaran, Mazandaran Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Political Sciences, University of Mazandaran Mazandaran, Iran


The experiences of Islamism in the 20th and the early 21st centuries are associated with a variety of images: from fundamentalists’ radical Islam (like ISIS) to moderate Islamists` democratism (like the Ennahda Movement). As we have witnessed in the aftermath of Arab Spring, this variety is continuing to affect any speculation on the future hegemonies of Islamism. Which formations can one imagine about the future of Islamism, and what variables would be of great importance? The present research hypothesizes that there might still be two potential alternatives or, in the sense of Weber, Ideal types: civil Islamic state vs. religious one. The actualization of both ties with the way of interaction of intellectual variables and social conditions. At the intellectual level, the ‘approach to religion’ is the matter. It means while rational interpretation of the Sharia (Ijtihad) would pave the way for democracy promotion under a civil conception of an Islamic state, the mythical (Fundamentalist) one, especially in combination with instrumental rationality, will lead to Islamic totalitarianism under a religious conception of an Islamic state. However, the actualization of any imagined alternatives is determinately intertwined with the quality of some social variables such as economic development, national sovereignty, cultural atmosphere, and political opportunity structure. The paper maintains that the experience of various Islamist movements, from the early 20th century, provides facts to justify the hypothesis. To do so, it will articulate the collected data within a ‘comparative analysis’ framework concentrating on ‘the role of interaction between intellectual framework and the social condition’ in the practice of the main typical trends in Islamism: the moderates and the radicals. Ultimately, the paper seeks to highlight ‘the past’ for speculating the possible ‘future’.


Main Subjects

  1. Abdollahi Ziyaedini, M. (1399 SH). “The Genealogy of Salafi Terrorism”, Political and International Approaches, 12(3), pp. 175-203. [In Persian]
  2. Ahmadi, H. (1389 SH). Political Sociology of Islamic Movements, Tehran: I.S.U. Press. [In Persian]
  3. Ahmed, A. (2004) Postmodernism and Islam: Predicament and Promise. London & New York: Rutledge, 2nd
  4. M. (1992). “Globalization”, in W. Outhwaite & T. Bottomore (Eds.), The Blackwell Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Social Thought, Oxford: Blackwell Publication.
  5. Barthes, (1385 SH). Myth, Today, SH. Daghighian (Trans.), Tehran: Markaz. [In Persian]
  6. Bashiriyeh, H. (1385 SH). Revolution and Political Mobilization, Tehran: University of Tehran Press, 6th edition [In Persian]
  7. Bayat, A. (2013). Post-Islamism: the changing forces of Political Islam, Oxford University Press.
  8. Belkeziz, A. (2009). The State in Contemporary Islamic Thought: A Historical Survey of the Major Muslim Political Thinkers of the Modern Era. London: I. B. Tauris.
  9. Cooper, J; (1378 SH). Islam and Modernity: Muslim Intellectuals Respond, ‎ Karimi (Trans.), Tehran: Institute for Political and International Studies. [In Persian]
  10. El-Zein, A. (1977). “Beyond Ideology and Theology: The Search for the Anthropology of Islam”, Annual Review of Anthropology, 6), pp. 227-
  11. Enayat, H. (1982). Modern Islamic Political Thought, Austin: University of Texas Press.
  12. Esposito, J & Voll, J. (1996). Islam and Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  13. Golmohammdi, A. (1380 SH). Globalization, Culture, Identity, Tehran: Ney Publication. [In Persian]
  14. Hallaq, W. (2012). The Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity`s Moral Predicament, Press University columbia .
  15. Herf, J. (2003). Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture, and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich, Cambridge University Press.
  16. Martell, L. (2016). The Sociology of Globalization, London: Polity Press.
  17. Mirahmadi, M. (1386 SH). Islam and Deliberative Democracy, Tehran: Ney Publication. [In Persian]
  18. Qutb, S. (2007)Milestones. Birmingham: Maktabah Publishers.
  19. Robertson, R. (1992). Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture, London: Sage.
  20. Shayegan, D. (1372 SH). “ldeologization of the Tradition”, M. Mehraban (Trans.), Kian, 4(19), pp. 10-19. [In Persian]
  21. Shihadeh, M. (2016). The Developments of Discourse of Salafism, M. Jaefari (Trans.), Tehran: Sorosh.
  22. Touraine, A. (2007). A New Paradigm for Understanding Today’s World, London: Polity Press.
  23. Zizek, S. (1393 SH). “ISIS is Perverted Modernization”, A. Hashemi (Trans.), [In Persian]