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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: April 2015

Introduction: Islamism(s) of Academics and Islamists

Summary

This book focusses on Islamism as a political ideology by taking the case of Jamaat-e-Islami in contemporary India and Bangladesh. In this regard, I have used Ernesto Laclau's ideology and discourse analysis method in conceptually grasping and analyzing the rhetoric of Jamaat. Therefore, primarily, the study will be in the theoretical framework of Laclau in ideology studies. In this respect, this book elaborates on the underlying politics of Islamism with reference to Laclau's theoretical insights into ideology and discourse analysis, particularly with regard to the identification of the (political) enemy/antagonistic frontier and the construction of populist political discourses as a strategy of political mobilization. That is to say, the book will, firstly, address how, in a contemporary globalized world, Islamists construct an antagonistic frontier and mobilize ‘people’ behind their political project. Secondly, the book examines the dynamics of the formation of Islamist politics for struggle for hegemony and its failure to become a hegemonic force in Bangladesh. Thirdly, the contradiction between Islamic universalism/Islamist populism, on the one hand, and a politics of Muslim particularism in India, on the other, is revealed in this study. Fourthly, the book also deals with the Islamist cultural critique of atheism, blasphemy, live-in relationships and homosexuality, which the (Jamaati) Islamists construe as products of ‘Western cultural globalization’. In this respect, I try to analyze why Islamists are antagonistic to such issues. Finally, this book traces the contemporary crisis of Islamist populism in providing an alternative to neoliberalism. In this regard, I find a sophisticated conceptual signpost in Ernesto Laclau's theoretical framework in analyzing the empirical findings of the research.

Today, neoliberal capitalism is passing through a global crisis. In this context, the study tries to answer the core question – can Islamism articulate a politics of alternative in a world marked by capitalist globalization and neoliberal consensus? Further questions related to the major theme are also addressed as follows – after the failure of the twentieth-century socialism, what happens to the promise and goal of Islamism in providing an alternative to capitalism?