Author: François Burgat

Book review by: Sari Hanafi (**)

Published by: La Découverte, Paris

Year of publication: 2016

Number of pages: 260

ISBN: 978-2-70719-213-4


Understanding Political Islam: Research Trajectories towards Understanding the Muslim Other 1973–2016 is not a research book in the classical sense nor is it the author’s memoirs placing himself in the midst of events that attest to his own heroism. Published in France, it is rather a complex narrative that reminds me of the late Malik Bennabi’s Memories of a Witness to the Contemporary Age (1965). Research Director of the IREMAM (Institut de Recherches et d‘Etudes sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman) in Aix-en-Provence, François Burgat delivers a personal testimony as to how a young man raised in the province of Savoie (France) discovered the Arab world, and how he constructed Islamism as a research object. It includes a testimony to some of the most important events that have shaken the Arab world from its independence to the present day. It also includes an appraisal of the evolution of academic and journalistic research on the subject of Islamism, in particular the evolution of French Islamic studies.

Through his own tireless efforts, during lengthy research residencies in Arab countries including Algeria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, Burgat constructed the subject of Islamism. He made devoted efforts at conducting in-depth interviews with one hundred influential figures and activists from Islamic movements both inside and outside these countries, as well as carrying out fine ethnographic studies on the trajectories of several Islamic figures and their transformation over the last quarter of a century.


Read full text here Comprendre-l‘islam-politique.-Une-trajectoire-de-recherche-sur-l‘altérité-islamiste-1973–2016.pdf


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