Beyond belief: Islamist strategic thinking and international relations theory

Jones, David Martin and Smith, M. L. R. (2010) Beyond belief: Islamist strategic thinking and international relations theory. Terrorism and Political Violence, 22 2: 242-266. doi:10.1080/09546550903472286

Author Jones, David Martin
Smith, M. L. R.
Title Beyond belief: Islamist strategic thinking and international relations theory
Journal name Terrorism and Political Violence   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0954-6553
Publication date 2010
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/09546550903472286
Open Access Status
Volume 22
Issue 2
Start page 242
End page 266
Total pages 25
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject 2213 Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
3300 Social Sciences
3311 Safety Research
3312 Sociology and Political Science
3320 Political Science and International Relations
Abstract The development of radical Islamist strategic thinking and the impact of post-modern, Western styles of thought upon the ideology that informs that strategy is often overlooked in conventional discussions of homegrown threats from jihadist militants. The propensity to discount the ideology informing both al-Qaeda and nominally non-violent Islamist movements with an analogous political philosophy like Hizb ut-Tahrir neglects the influence that critical Western modes of thought exercise upon their strategic thinking especially in the context of homegrown radicalization. Drawing selectively on non-liberal tendencies in the Western ideological canon has, in fact, endowed Khilaafaism (caliphism) with both a distinctive theoretical style and strategic practice. In particular, it derives intellectual sustenance from a post-Marxist Frankfurt School of critical thinking that in combination with an "English" School of international relations idealism holds that epistemological claims are socially determined, subjective, and serve the interests of dominant power relations. This critical, normative, and constructivist approach to international relations seeks not only to explain the historical emergence of the global order, but also to transcend it. This transformative agenda bears comparison with radical Islamist critiques of Western ontology and is of interest to Islamism's political and strategic thinking. In this regard, the relativist and critical approaches that have come to dominate the academic social sciences since the 1990s not only reflect a loss of faith in Western values in a way that undermines the prospects for a liberal and pluralist polity, but also, through a critical process facilitated by much international relations orthodoxy, promotes the strategic and ideological agenda of radical Islam. It is this curious strategic and ideological evolution that this paper explores.
Keyword Caliphism
Critical terrorism studies
Hizb ut Tahrir
International relations
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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