Radical Arab Nationalism and Political Islam

Lahouari Addi
Anthony Roberts, Translator

"Insightful and wide-ranging analysis . . . A valuable perspective on contemporary Arab politics. "
+ Add to Cart Preorder


Request Print Exam Copy

Request Digital Exam Copy

In Radical Arab Nationalism and Political Islam, Lahouari Addi attempts to assess the history and political legacy of radical Arab nationalism to show that it contained the seeds of its own destruction. While the revolutionary regimes promised economic and social development and sought the unity of Arab nations, they did not account for social transformations, such as freedom of speech, that would eventually lead to their decline. But while radical Arab nationalism fell apart, authoritarian populism did not disappear. Today it is expressed by political Islam that aims to achieve the kind of social justice radical Arab nationalism once promised.

Addi creatively links the past and present while also raising questions about the future of Arab countries. Is political Islam the heir of radical Arab nationalism? If political Islam succeeds, will it face the same challenges faced by radical Arab nationalism? Will it be able to implement modernity? The future of Arab countries, Addi writes, depends on this crucial issue.

Published in collaboration with Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University.

Table of Contents


Part I. Origins and Perspectives of Arab Nationalism
1. The Emergence and Development of Arab Nationalism
Wahhabism as a Proto-Nationalism
Liberal Nationalism in Egypt
From Liberal Arabism to Radical Arab Nationalism

2. The Ideological Limitations of Radical Arab Nationalism
Radical Arab Nationalism against the Market Economy
Populism against Society
Economism as a Response to Cultural Crisis

3. Nationalism and Nation
The Militarization of Politics
The Aggressive Nature of Nationalism
What Is a Nation if Its People Are Not Sovereign?

Part II. The Ideological and Political Dynamics of Islamism
4. Islamism as Cultural Representation and Ideological Will
The Cultural Roots of Islamism
The Making of Islamist Ideology: Sayyid Qutb and Abul A’la Mawdudi
Toward Post-Islamism?

5. Islamism and Democracy
Democracy and Political Participation
Th e Al hakimiyya li Allah Slogan
Th e Question of Sharia

6. The Ideological and Political Perspectives of Islamism
The Cultural Heterogeneity of Contemporary Arab Society
Al-Nahda, Sufi sm, and Islamism
Eventful Regression

About the Author


"An elegant and singularly useful book, addressing ideas and events of relevance to students of nationalism, religion, Islam, the Arab world, and the Middle East more broadly."—Middle East Journal

"An important contribution to the extensive literature on the political uses of Islam . . . Offers a path toward a fruitful rethinking of Islam."—Journal of North African Studies

"Insightful and wide-ranging analysis . . . A valuable perspective on contemporary Arab politics."—H-Net

"While he approaches the topic from a political-sociological perspective, the author discusses historical, cultural, political, and economic factors throughout the book, which allows the reader to appreciate the complexity of the issue. . . . Written in an accessible style and organized effectively, the book is likely to be of use to researchers, students, journalists, and readers with a general interest in the history and politics of the Middle East and North Africa; religion and politics; Islam and democracy; and nationalism."—Reading Religion

"Sociologist Lahouari Addi unpacks the dynamic histories of radical Arab nationalism and political Islam, two major competing ideologies and state-building projects in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa. This book is also an original and lucid intervention focusing on Algeria’s history through a wide variety of topics including secularization and Islamic law, sovereignty and authority, nationhood and modernity, morality and religion, ritual and social relationships."—Susan Slyomovics, Professor of Anthropology, UCLA

"This is an excellent work, even a great book in its field. It writes from the inside of its topics—Islam, modernity, nationalism—and brings them together to show both their meeting point and their incompatibilities. The work is erudite, committed, communicative, from a position of deep absorption of classics in all these fields. Addi joins Abdou, Arkoun, and Taha (good company) in trying to square the triangle and comes out with integrity."—I. William Zartman, Professor Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University–SAIS


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Lahouari Addi is a professor at the Institut d’Études Politiques at the University of Lyon, and research fellow at the Centre de Recherche en Anthropologie Sociale et Culturelle in Oran, Algeria. He is the author of numerous books and articles on North Africa and political Islam, including Deux anthropologues au Maghreb: Ernest Gellner et Clifford Geertz and L’Algérie et la Democratie.

287 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-62616-449-9
Jul 2017

287 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-62616-450-5
Jul 2017

287 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-62616-451-2
Jul 2017

Related Titles