Faith in Moderation: Islamist Parties in Jordan and Yemen / Edition 1

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Does political inclusion produce ideological moderation? Schwedler argues that examining political behaviour alone provides insufficient evidence of moderation because it leaves open the possibility that political actors might act as if they are moderate while harbouring radical agendas. Through a comparative study of the Islamic Action Front party in Jordan and the Islah party in Yemen, she argues that the IAF in Jordan has become more moderate through participation in pluralist political processes, while the Islah party has not. The variation is explained in part by internal group organization and decision-making processes, but particularly by the ways in which the IAF has been able to justify its new pluralist practices on Islamic terms while the Islah party has not. Based on nearly four years of field research in Jordan and Yemen, Schwedler contributes both an important theory of ideological moderation and detail about these powerful Islamist political parties.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Jillian Schwedler's book provides a valuable and highly knowledgeable contribution at a time when the topic is thrust upon us with ever greater urgency: the subtle interrelationship between Islamist movements, democratization and moderation. Her analysis is informed and nuanced and reflects many years of experience on this issue. Her treatment of the important, but much less well known case of democracy in Yemen is of particular value."
-Graham E. Fuller, author of The Future of Political Islam

"Faith in Moderation is an unusually good work of comparative social analysis, combining theoretical sophistication, impressive depth of original research, and important new thinking about an issue of urgent international concern. Schwedler's arguments about Islamist participation in democratic institutions will challenge conventional wisdom on both sides of the debate, and become a touchstone for debates about the prospects for engaging with moderate Islamism."
-Marc Lynch, Williams College

"Faith in Moderation is an important and timely book. Schwedler delves deep into theory and history to provide a serious and in depth examination of the causal relationship between inclusion and moderation at a time when the prospect of political reform in the Middle East has put to question all manner of assumptions about relation of Islamism to democracy. Theoretically rich and based on detailed evidence from two case studies, this book provides a compelling analysis of Islamist debates on democracy and inclusion, and the impact of democratization on Islamism. It puts to test widely-held assumptions and presents new hypotheses for explaining Islamist behavior. Few works have so seamlessly related the study of Islam and the Middle East to comparative politics theory as this book. Written with authority and yet in a lucid style Faith in Moderation is easily one of the most notable recent contributions to the study of Islamism, democratization theory and the religion and politics."
-Vali Nasr, Naval Postgraduate School and author of Islamic Leviathan: Islam and the Making of State Power

"Highly recommended."

"Schwedler offers an important contribution to the literature on democratization in the Middle East as well as to our study of Islamist political parties....Her exemplary diligence in the field gathering interviews and internal party documents should be commended....[Schwedler's] exercise in conceptual unpacking, which blends social movement theories and transitology, should help Middle East studies rejoin debates in comparative politics."
-Russell E. Lucas, Florida International University, Perspectives on Politics

"Schwedler has produced an excellent piece of research, which has expanded the boundaries of theoretical debate and deepened understanding of the issues surrounding Islamist participation in national and local politics in the Middle East. It would be a pity if the research were not applied to additional case studies in the region."
-Dr. Neil Quillam, London

"Jillian Schwedler's comparative study of two 'Islamist' political parties in Jordan and Yemen, respectively, is a welcome reminder that Muslims are just as capable of protecting their faith in moderation as anyone else. [...]the author's argument is sound, and the detailed analysis of the political process is well worth continuing through to the end of the book."
-Daniel Martin Varisco, Chair, Department of Anthropology, Hofstra University, The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521040006
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/21/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Jillian Schwedler is Professor of Political Science at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

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Table of Contents

List of figures; List of tables; Preface; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Note on transliterations and translations; 1. Moderation and the dynamics of political change; 2. Political liberalization as a mechanism of control; 3. Public political space; 4. Cultural dimensions of political contestation; 5. Justification and moderation; 6. Conclusion: does inclusion lead to moderation?; References; Index.

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