Political Islam: Theory

Annual Review of Political Science, Volume 18 (June 2015), pp. 103-23.

21 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2014 Last revised: 2 Aug 2015

See all articles by Andrew F. March

Andrew F. March

Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University

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Date Written: July 16, 2014


This essay focuses on questions addressed in a variety of literatures that pertain to the ideological, normative, symbolic and epochal aspects of political Islam. Political theorists, historians, sociologists and anthropologists have disagreed on whether political Islam is an exclusively modern political phenomenon or is indebted to longstanding Islamic religious commitments. More specifically, they have also disagreed on whether the shape and ambitions of political Islam is entirely determined by the powers and institutions of the modern, bureaucratic state, particular its secular desire to control, regulate and reshape religion. These interpretive debates have often sat uneasily with ongoing normative debates about what kind of secularism is required by democracy, and whether democracy has a priority to liberal rights and freedoms.

Keywords: Secularism, religion, modernity, fundamentalism, democracy

Suggested Citation

March, Andrew F., Political Islam: Theory (July 16, 2014). Annual Review of Political Science, Volume 18 (June 2015), pp. 103-23.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2467117

Andrew F. March (Contact Author)

Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University ( email )

124 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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