Post-Islamism and fields of contention after the Arab Spring: feminism, Salafism and the revolutionary youth

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In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, conflicts in Egypt and Tunisia over the authority to rule and the role of religion in society raised questions about these societies’ capacity for reconciling differences. In retrospect, the conflicts also raise questions about the theoretical tools used to analyse regional developments. In particular, the ‘post-Islamism’ thesis has significantly changed the debates on ‘Islam and democracy’ by bringing to light the changing opportunity structures, and changed goals, of Islamist movements. However, this paper argues that the theory underestimates differences within post-Islamist societies. Drawing on field theory, the paper shows how the actual content of post-Islamism is contingent on political struggle. It focuses on three fields whose political roles have been underestimated or misrepresented by post-Islamist theorists: Islamic feminism, Salafist-jihadism and the revolutionary youth. Their respective forms of capital – sources of legitimacy and social recognition – give important clues for understanding the stakes of the conflicts after the Arab Spring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1800-1815
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number8
Early online date2016 Oct 14
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug 3

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


  • Arab Spring
  • Egypt
  • gender and feminism
  • post-Islamism
  • Salafism
  • Tunisia


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