Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Political Instrumentalization of Islam and the Risk of Obscurantist Deadlock

Contents:

Author Info

  • Platteau, Jean-Philippe

Abstract

Summary The empirical literature has established a strong link between being a Muslim country and indicators of political performance and democracy. The idea of the "clash of civilizations" put forward by Samuel Huntington and applied to Islam by Bernard Lewis and others points to unique aspects of the Islamic religion and culture that make the advent of democracy especially difficult. In this paper, I show that there is a systematic misconception about the true nature of the relationship between Islam and politics: far from being fused into the religious realm, politics tends to dominate religion. Because of some characteristics, namely the lack of a centralized religious authority structure and the great variability of interpretations of the Islamic law, there is a risk of an "obscurantist deadlock" in the form of a vicious process whereby both the ruler and his political opponents try to outbid each other by using the religious idiom. This risk looms particularly large in crisis situations accentuated by international factors such as witnessed during the second half of the 20th century. From a short comparative analysis, it is however hard to conclude that unique aspects of the Islamic faith are ultimately responsible for the persistent autocratic feature of Muslim polities.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VC6-51J7CMV-1/2/267b78f9836fa74bec478ea2f2264902
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 243-260

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:2:p:243-260

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

Related research

Keywords: religion political economy despotism instrumentalization Islam;

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2008. "Religion, politics, and development: Lessons from the lands of Islam," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 329-351, November.
  2. World Bank, 2003. "Better Governance for Development in the Middle East and North Africa : Enhancing Inclusiveness and Accountability," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15077, October.
  3. Desai, Meghnad, 2005. "Development and Nationhood: Essays in the Political Economy of South Asia," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195667608, September.
  4. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-38, May.
  5. Badawi, Ibrahim El & Makdisi, Samir, 2007. "Explaining the democracy deficit in the Arab world," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(5), pages 813-831, February.
  6. Noland, Marcus, 2005. "Religion and economic performance," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1215-1232, August.
  7. Timur Kuran, 2004. "Why the Middle East is Economically Underdeveloped: Historical Mechanisms of Institutional Stagnation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 71-90, Summer.
  8. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Kuran, Timur, 2003. "The Islamic Commercial Crisis: Institutional Roots of Economic Underdevelopment in the Middle East," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(02), pages 414-446, June.
  10. Weiffen, Brigitte, 2008. "Liberalizing Autocracies in the Gulf Region? Reform Strategies in the Face of a Cultural-Economic Syndrome," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 2586-2604, December.
  11. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
  12. Noland Marcus, 2008. "Explaining Middle Eastern Political Authoritarianism I: The Level of Democracy," Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-30, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Islam, Authoritarianism and Intolerance
    by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson in Why Nations Fail on 2012-09-13 15:00:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Platteau, Jean-Phillipe & Sekeris, Petros G., 2013. "Seduction of Religious Clerics and Violence in Autocratic Regimes - with special emphasis on Islam," NEPS Working Papers 3/2013, Network of European Peace Scientists.
  2. Stelios Michalopoulos & Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo, 2010. "Trade and geography in the economic origins of Islam: theory and evidence," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 046, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:2:p:243-260. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.