The Symbolic Scenarios of Islamism: A Study in Islamic Political Thought

Andrea Mura
Publication date: 
September 2015
Publication type: 

Andrea Mura (2015) The Symbolic Scenarios of Islamism: A Study in Islamic Political Thought, (Farnham: Ashgate), ISBN: 978-1-4724-4389-2

Series: Contemporary Thought in the Islamic World


The Symbolic Scenarios of Islamism initiates a dialogue between the discourse of three of the most discussed figures in the history of the Sunni Islamic movement - Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb and Osama bin Laden - and contemporary debates across religion and political theory, providing a crucial foundation upon which to situate current developments in world politics.

Redressing the inefficiency of the terms in which the debate on Islam and Islamism is generally conducted, the book examines the role played by tradition, modernity, and transmodernity as major ‘symbolic scenarios’ of Islamist discourses, highlighting the internal complexity and dynamism of Islamism. By uncovering forms of knowledge that have hitherto gone unnoticed or have been marginalised by traditional and dominant approaches to politics, accounting for central political ideas in non-Western sources and in the Global South, the book provides a unique contribution towards rethinking the nature of citizenship, antagonism, space, and frontiers required today.

While offering valuable reading for scholars of Islamic studies, religious studies and politics, it provides a critical and important perspective for academics with an interest in discourse theory, post-colonial theory, political philosophy, and comparative political thought. 


Introduction. Part I: Approaching Islamism; Modernity and tradition: discursive genealogies; Globalisation and transmodernity. Part II: The discourse of Hasan al-Banna: A territorial trajectory; The discourse of Sayyid Qutb: A transitional trajectory; The discourse of Osama bin Laden: A transterritorial trajectory. Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.


‘Amidst the frenzy of scholarship and commentary on contemporary Islamism, Andrea Mura’s The Symbolic Scenarios of Islamism distinguishes itself by offering a deeply insightful exploration of Islamism understood as political thought and as the basis of political identity. Undoubtedly one of the most original treatments of the subject to appear in recent years.’
Peter Mandaville, George Mason University, USA

‘The strength of the book lies in bringing complexity, nuance and an appreciation of historical difference to that over-loaded, over-simplified and now sadly ubiquitous term “Islamism". His individual approach to three distinct figures within that bloated term is long overdue amongst Western theorists.’
Ian Almond, Georgetown University, Qatar


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