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Toward a Theory of “Islamist Movements”

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I differentiate conceptually between Islamist and other religious movements directed towards religious and political institutions and, for each of these, between movements that endeavor to transform (1) role relationships, (2) collectivity structures, (3) normative expectations, and (4) value orientations in these institutions. I construct a value-added theory that specifies the necessary and sufficient conditions generating each of these types of movements. Movements are directed at one of these components of social action dependent on the nature of strain present for actors within the system. Their direction is guided by the nature of the opportunity structure present in the social order under examination. Religious disorders, religious movements that violate institutionalized norms and attempt to reconstruct one or more aspects of an institutionalized religious structure, emerge when religious value-commitments and obligations are deflated and actors adopt a calculating orientation towards them. A parallel set of religious movements that do not violate institutionalized norms will emerge when all of the variables are present except a deflation of value-commitments.

Affiliations: 1: Haverford College, mgould@haverford.edu

10.1163/22131418-00201007
/content/journals/10.1163/22131418-00201007
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2014-11-21
2018-08-20

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