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Modalities of National Sovereignty: Territorial Nationalism versus Islamic Fundamentalism in Muslim-Majority Countries

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionMoaddel, Mansoor. 2014. "Modalities of National Sovereignty: Territorial Nationalism versus Islamic Fundamentalism in Muslim-Majority Countries." PSC Research Report No. 14-816. February 2014.

I employ the concept of modality in order to capture the configurations of homogeneous elements that may exist in a heterogeneous context encompassing diverse nationalist movements. Modalities of nationalism are varied outcomes of the efforts of intellectuals to resolve issues concerning the identity of their political community, its boundaries, and the ideal political regime. A modality rests on identity and feelings of national solidarity such that changes in identity and feelings are linked in a predictable way to changes in attitudes toward other issues. I argue that the modalities of territorial nationalism, pan-Arab nationalism, and Islamic fundamentalism are varied ways in which indigenous intellectual leaders resolved sociopolitical issues. I also argue that modalities have varying supports among ordinary individuals. They are clustered on and driven by identity and national pride. An analysis of data from twelve cross-national surveys carried out in ten Muslim-majority countries in 2000-2008 has shown that the change in the basis of identity from religion to territorial nation is connected to a significant increase in favorable attitudes toward gender equality, secular orientation, secular politics, Western culture, and, except in two cases, democracy, but not linked consistently to attitudes toward outsiders. National pride, on the other hand, is a driver of fundamentalist values, as it is inversely linked to gender equality (except in three cases), secular orientation, secular politics, and Western culture. National pride has inconsistent linkages with democracy and attitudes toward outsiders. Finally, the link between socioeconomic status and liberal values (except in Saudi Arabia) suggests that the modernist interpretations of nationalism may only apply to the modality of liberal territorial nationalism.

Country of focus: Middle East.

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