Moderation of Islamic Political Parties and the Impact on Society
George Mason University
Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper
Moderation manifests itself in the tendencies of the Islamist parties to engage in more pluralist politics, tone down their religious rhetoric, embrace free market economies, open to debate the absoluteness of religious texts, albeit in different combinations and degrees. The explanations for this have mostly either focused on the role of inclusion and repression in the political processes or the role of the business sector, therefore ended up emphasizing the elites as the determining social actors. Thus the major line of thought tends to leave out the larger popular sectors both within the Islamist movements, if not represents them as the obedient followers of the political and economic elites. This paper aims to bring in the often neglected terrain of grass roots politics both within the Islamist movements and in the wider domain of ideologically ambivalent popular sectors by looking at the interaction between the movements and the people. In order to bring in this perspective, this paper examines the impact of the Islamist political party on the society and questions whether the ideological and behavioral transformations of the party leads to a wider electoral base in the society and through which they culminate into an ideational shift among the popular sectors, hence making moderation a source for more enhanced diffusion of party's goals and values. The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey is the case study through which these questions are examined.
Date posted: March 29, 2010
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