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Post-Islamism is a neologism in political science, the definition and applicability of which has led to an intellectual debate. Asef Bayat and Olivier Roy are among the main architects of the idea. [1]

A neologism describes a relatively recent or isolated term, word, or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but that has not yet been fully accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often driven by changes in culture and technology, and may be directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event. In the process of language formation, neologisms are more mature than protologisms.

Political science is a social science which deals with systems of governance, and the analysis of political activities, political thoughts, and political behavior. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics which is commonly thought of as determining of the distribution of power and resources. Political scientists "see themselves engaged in revealing the relationships underlying political events and conditions, and from these revelations they attempt to construct general principles about the way the world of politics works."

Asef Bayat is an Iranian-American scholar. He is currently the Catherine and Bruce Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies and Professor of Sociology and Middle Eastern studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was previously Professor of Sociology and Middle Eastern studies and held the Chair of Society and Culture of the Modern Middle East at Leiden University, The Netherlands. He served as Academic Director of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) and ISIM Chair of Islam and the Modern World at Leiden University.


Terminology and definition

The term was coined by Iranian political sociologist Asef Bayat, then associate professor of sociology at The American University in Cairo in a 1996 essay published in the journal Middle East Critique . [2] [3]

TheAmerican University in Cairo is an independent, English language, private, research university located in Cairo, Egypt. The university offers American-style learning programs at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels, along with a continuing education program.

Middle East Critique is a peer reviewed Middle Eastern studies journal published by Taylor & Francis for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University.

Bayat explained it as "a condition where, following a phase of experimentation, the appeal, energy, symbols and sources of legitimacy of Islamism get exhausted, even among its once-ardent supporters. As such, post-Islamism is not anti-Islamic, but rather reflects a tendency to resecularize religion." It originally pertained only to Iran, where "post-Islamism is expressed in the idea of fusion between Islam (as a personalized faith) and individual freedom and choice; and post-Islamism is associated with the values of democracy and aspects of modernity". [4] In this context, the prefix post- does not have historic connotation, but refers to the critical departure from Islamist discourse. [5] Bayat later pointed in 2007 that post-Islamism is both a "condition" and a "project". [1]

Islamism set of ideologies holding that Islam should guide social and political as well as personal life

Islamism is a concept whose meaning has been debated in both public and academic contexts. The term can refer to diverse forms of social and political activism advocating that public and political life should be guided by Islamic principles or more specifically to movements which call for full implementation of sharia. It is commonly used interchangeably with the terms political Islam or Islamic fundamentalism. In academic usage, the term Islamism does not specify what vision of "Islamic order" or sharia are being advocated, or how their advocates intend to bring them about. In Western mass media it tends to refer to groups whose aim is to establish a sharia-based Islamic state, often with implication of violent tactics and human rights violations, and has acquired connotations of political extremism. In the Muslim world, the term has positive connotations among its proponents.

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.

Democracy system of government in which citizens vote directly in or elect representatives to form a governing body, sometimes called "rule of the majority"

Democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a constitutional democracy the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association.

"Postmodern Islamism" and "New Age Islamism" are other terms interchangeably used. [6]

New Age spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the 1970s

New Age is a term applied to a range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the 1970s. Precise scholarly definitions of the New Age differ in their emphasis, largely as a result of its highly eclectic structure. Although analytically often considered to be religious, those involved in it typically prefer the designation of spiritual or Mind, Body, Spirit and rarely use the term "New Age" themselves. Many scholars of the subject refer to it as the New Age movement, although others contest this term and suggest that it is better seen as a milieu or zeitgeist.

French politician Olivier Carré used the term in 1991 from a different perspective, to describe the period between the 10th and the 19th centuries, when both Shiite and Sunni Islam "separated the political-military from the religious realm, both theoretically and in practice". [1]

Olivier Carré French politician

Olivier Carré is a member of the National Assembly of France from 2007 to 2017. He represents the Loiret department, and was a member of The Republicans until 2017. He was member of the Economic, Environmental and Regional Planning Committee.

10th century Century

The 10th century was the period from 901 to 1000 in accordance with the Julian calendar, and the last century of the 1st millennium.

19th century Century

The 19th (nineteenth) century was a century that began on January 1, 1801, and ended on December 31, 1900. It is often used interchangeably with the 1800s, though the start and end dates differ by a year.


In Iran, the Reformists [7] [8] and the group known as the Melli-Mazhabi (who are ideologically close to the Freedom Movement) [9] are described as post-Islamists.

Iranian Reformists political movement in Iran to change the system to include more freedom and democracy

The Iranian reformists are a political faction in Iran that support former President Mohammad Khatami's plans to change the Iranian political system to include more freedom and democracy. Iran's "reform era" is sometimes said to have lasted from 1997 to 2005—the length of Khatami's two terms in office. The Council for Coordinating the Reforms Front is the main umbrella organization and coalition within the movement; however, there are reformist groups not aligned with the council, such as the Reformists Front.

The Council of Nationalist-Religious Activists of Iran or The Coalition of National-Religious Forces of Iran is an Iranian political group, described as "nonviolent, religious semi-opposition" with a following of mainly middle class, intellectual, representatives of technical professions, students and technocrats.

Freedom Movement of Iran

The Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI) or Liberation Movement of Iran is an Iranian pro-democracy political organization founded in 1961, by members describing themselves as "Muslims, Iranians, Constitutionalists and Mossadeghists". It is the oldest party still active in Iran and has been described as a "semi-opposition" or "loyal opposition" party. It has also been described as a "religious nationalist party".

The advent of moderate parties Al-Wasat Party in Egypt, as well as Justice and Development Party in Morocco appeared to resemble emergance of post-Islamism, however scholars rejected that they qualify as such. [10] [11] A similar characterization applies to the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). [12]

A 2008 Lowy Institute for International Policy paper suggests that Prosperous Justice Party of Indonesia and Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey are post-Islamist. [13] According to Ahmet T. Kuru and Alfred Stepan (2012), many analysts consider Turkish AKP an example of post-Islamism, similar to Christian democratic parties, but Islamic. [14] However, some scholars such as Bassam Tibi dispute this. [15] İhsan Yılmaz argues that the party's ideology after 2011 is different from that of between 2001 and 2011. [16]

The idea has been used to describe the "ideological evolution" within the Ennahda of Tunisia. [17]

See also

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