Feb 10 2015

Hezbollah, Islamist Politics, and International Society: NEW BOOK by IR Dept PhD alumnus Filippo Dionigi

Dionigi_HezbollahIslamism constitutes a new variant of the communitarian challenge to a liberal international order. But is it a viable political project in a world where human rights and international humanitarian principles have become so pervasive?  What are the consequences of the global diffusion of the norms of international society for Islamist groups that (pro)claim a self-referential Muslim identity; attempt to shield their communities from allegedly alien moral conceptions; and assert the exclusive validity of supposedly immutable Islamic principles?

In this book Filippo Dionigi claims that the influence of international norms on Islamist politics goes beyond an instrumental norm-conformist behavior by Islamist actors. International norms instill in the discourse and agency of Islamism conceptions of person and community which facilitate a sense of membership to international society, instead of being its outcasts. By using the case of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the author illustrates how this Islamist movement has become more cognizant of the cogency of the norms of international society. The result is a precarious but innovative equilibrium in which a political actor redefines its Islamist identity by rethinking the idea of an allegedly “authentic” Islamic morality and the legitimacy of international norms.

We are far from an accomplished resolve of the tension between Islamist communitarian stances and liberal normative views; but international norms shape patterns toward an international society in which persons can be valued by the sole virtue of their humanity and communities are respected as fundamental sources for the legitimacy of political institutions.

Published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.  Available from Amazon.

“This book combines a profound grasp of constitutive/constructivist theory with an equally profound empirical understanding of Hezbollah in its political context. It demonstrates how the language of the movement changed through its international interactions to incorporate many human rights norms. It is an important application and test of constructivist thought” Mervyn Frost, King’s college London, UK

“Dionigi’s pioneering work draws on international political theory to enrich our understanding of Islamism in the Middle East. Using Hezbollah as a case study, and with the benefit of extensive primary research, this book explores the relationship between international human rights and humanitarian norms and Islamist ideology, which is described as a variant of communitarianism. This book bridges the gap between so-called Western and Islamist political thought and places the Islamist ideology firmly within a universalist framework.” Katerina Dalacoura, London School of Economics, UK

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