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Middle East AuthoritarianismsGovernance, Contestation, and Regime Resilience in Syria and Iran$
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Steven Heydemann and Reinoud Leenders

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804783019

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804783019.001.0001

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Islamic Social Movements and the Syrian Authoritarian Regime

Islamic Social Movements and the Syrian Authoritarian Regime

Shifting Patterns of Control and Accommodation

(p.107) 5 Islamic Social Movements and the Syrian Authoritarian Regime
Middle East Authoritarianisms

Teije Hidde Donker

Stanford University Press

This chapter addresses the scope and limits of Islamist activism in a secular authoritarian context, arguing that multiple Islamic movements exist within Syria. It also contends that the concept of brokerage can describe how the regime and religious movements are bound together, offers a short outline of insights gained using social movement studies, and discusses possible future developments regarding Islamic movements in Syria. It is noted that mobilization can be proposed for Islamisizing society in direct opposition to secular trends. Syria's Islamism is centered on a small number of elite Sunni activists and related to large Islamic institutes. It is then argued that brokerage can efficiently be employed in examining mobilization in a context where state–society boundaries are obscured. Using the concept of brokerage, Islamic mobilization in authoritarian regimes does not have to be a priori completely antagonistic to the regime against which it takes place.

Keywords:   Islamist activism, Islamic movements, Syria, brokerage, social movement, Islamic mobilization, Islamism, Sunni activists, Islamic institutes, authoritarian regimes

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