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New project on Shia and Sunni Islamism(s)

Headed by Morten Valbjørn and funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark

2019.05.20 | Mark Sedgwick

Bringing in the Other Islamists – comparing Arab Shia and Sunni Islamism(s) in a sectarianized Middle East

Research on Islamism has remained predominantly Sunni-centric. This project brings ‘the Other Islamists’ - Shia Islamists - into the debate on Islamism in the Arab Middle East. It uses a cross-disciplinary theoretical approach, which takes religion seriously without essentialising it, to explore whether, and if so, how and why, Shia Islamism(s) differ from their Sunni counterparts. The project focuses on 3 puzzles from the Islamism and sectarianization debates:

  1. to what extent are Islamist movements shaped by their context vs their religious identity/ideology/institutions;
  2. to what extent and how does the importance of sect-coded identities for Islamists change over time and how has this affected/been affected by sectarianization;
  3. what role does sectarian othering play in intra-sect competition.

These questions are examined through 3 WPs made up of comparative and within-case-studies of key Islamist movements in Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Bahrain.

Society and politics