Pious Politics: Political Theology in the Arab World and Beyond Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Gorman, Brandon
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • In this dissertation, I investigate the correlates and contents of Islam-centered political ideas among individual Muslims using a combination of survey data, cognitive interview data, and text data gathered from Arabic-language online messageboards. In the Chapters 2 and 3, I find that Muslims tend to support shari'a law and other Islamist political values do not systematically object to liberal global norms like democracy and human rights. The fourth chapter builds on these findings by exploring how Muslims discuss these issues online using a combination of dictionary-based and unsupervised text classification techniques on a sample of 214,861 posts made on the Arabic-language messageboard majalisna.com. I find that posters on this messageboard take issue with global norms not because of the content of the norms themselves, but because of their relationship with the West and powerful global actors. These results 1) provide evidence that the divide between Islamists and non-Islamists in the Muslim world is not as stark as the scholarly literature would otherwise suggest and 2) show that the expansion of international institutions and global culture can lead to both isomorphism and differentiation in local attitudes and practices.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Jamal, Amaney
  • Caren, Neal
  • Bail, Christopher
  • Kurzman, Charles
  • Perrin, Andrew J.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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