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The impact of international norms on Islamist politics: the case of Hezbollah

Dionigi, Filippo (2011) The impact of international norms on Islamist politics: the case of Hezbollah. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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In an increasingly interconnected global political sphere, Islamist political actors have undergone a process of transformation, notwithstanding the self-referential character of their ideology. The present study assesses to what extent international norms have influenced this process. The argument is that these norms challenge the self-referential character of Islamism and its communitarian assumptions. The thesis initially provides an overview of Islamist political theory with reference to Muḥammad ʿAbduh, Sayid Quṭb, Bāqir al-Ṣadr and Ruhollah Khomeini, and argues that Islamism is not a particularly original critique of liberalism, but can be considered a form of communitarianism. The study then focuses on the case of Hezbollah to substantiate the claim that international norms influenced Islamist politics. It conducts an empirical analysis of four instances of Hezbollah’s interaction with international norms. The norms in question are non-combatant immunity, human rights, and maintenance of international peace, whereas the fourth example provides a more general overview on the impact of international norms on Hezbollah’s political language. The case study shows that by interacting with international actors and state institutions, and by looking for legitimacy for its actions - not only vis-à-vis its community - but also within the international normative system; Hezbollah’s political identity was modified by the influence of international norms. International norms then challenge the communitarian assumptions underlying Islamist politics. They are important factors in the socialisation of Islamist actors within the international normative system and become constitutive elements of the political identity of Islamist movements such as Hezbollah.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Filippo Dionigi
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Dalacoura, Katerina

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