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Reflections On Religion, Modernization, and Violence in the Islamic Middle East

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

This essay examines the social role played by, and social reasons for, violence in the Islamic Middle East. In doing so, it aims to counteract a persistent tendency in the literature to igreore the complexity of the relationship between religion and violence, on the one hand, and larger issues of socio-political and economic change, on the other, in favor of a more simplistic approach that views so-called militant or radical Islam primarily as a cause of violence in the region. The essay argues that explanations of "religious" violence can never be divorced from a thorough understanding of the historical formation and present social dynamics of the various nation-states in the region.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, University of Toronto


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