Post-Islamism Redefined: A Genealogy of Political Islam in Iran
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Challenging the current academic conception of the term “post-Islamism,” this dissertation provides an alternative definition of the concept, having in mind the case of Iran. In contrast to Asef Bayat’s deployment of “post-Islamism,” as a secular rejection of an Islam that informs political consciousness, this dissertation, following Michel Foucault, situates Islamism within a larger genealogy, in order to investigate the relationships between religious and political traditions, from early Islamic eras to modern responses to an emerging Iranian state in the twentieth century. The dissertation specifically argues for a distinction between a statist Islamism and a non-statist understanding of Islam as a political ideology. To interpret this dynamic, Gill Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s characterization of non-statist “war machines” and centralist logics of the State Apparatus, is invoked to help explain how a modernist religious and political ideology and movement like Islamism developed before, during, and after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. After defining Islamism, through a critical engagement with scholarship on political Islam, the dissertation provides an analysis of the early Islamic antipathy to statism that characterized the community and movement established by the Prophet Muhammad. The dissertation then applies genealogical analysis to the doctrine of velāyat-e faqih that authorized the clerical domination of the Islamic republic. It then examines the formation of the modern nation-state in Iran and the role Iranian Islamism played in its formation and asks questions about how Islamism as a war-machine turned into a State Apparatus. This dissertation then calls for a revival of Islamism and concludes that the consequences of the state appropriation of Islamism have come to necessitate new cultural and political movements which support religious approaches to politics, yet they resist identifying with Islam as an ideology of state domination. This dissertation, calls the intellectual process of non-statist Islamist revival: post-Islamism.
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