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The impact of the West on Arab nationalism

Enayat, Hamid (1962) The impact of the West on Arab nationalism. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The main object of this thesis is to study the impact of the West on Arab nationalism during the period 1952-1958. The year 1952 saw the coup d'etat of the Free officers in Egypt - an event which marked the intensification of the struggle for Arab unity. The struggle reached its culmination in 1958 with the creation of the United Arab Republic. The choice of this particular period is justified, on the one hand, by the maturity of Arab nationalism as compared with its pre­vious phases and, on the other, by the open, far-reaching conflicts be­tween the Arabs and the West. But the period can not be properly appreciated, either in its contribution to Arab nationalism or in its bearing on the Arab-West relationship, if sufficient account is not taken of its background. The more so since what we try to differentiate and assess is not a straight chain of events but a tangled web of ideas. Thus, to make our background studv adequate to the complexity of the subject in hand, we have had to discuss at great length (in nearly one third of the thesis) the major movements of Arab thought in the nineteeneh and beginning of the twentieth century. The Western impact has made itself felt both at the theoretical and practical levels of Arab nationalism. To gauge its implications we have had to scrutinize Arab nationalism in its three different aspects: as a theory, as a historical phenomenon and as a political movement. The thesis tries to show how, on the theoretical plane, Arab nationalism has conducted Its fight against the West mainly with weapons which it has borrowed from the West, And It also tries to show how this ironical situation has resulted in multiple contradictions within both Arab poli­tical thought and practice. The attempts of Arab religious circles at removing these contradictions and inconsistencies by an out-and-out identification of Arab nationalists with Islam. have been studied at some length. But the thesis, in discussing these issues, tries also to serve another purpose: to carry a stage forward the analyses already made by other writers of the basic postulates and principles of Arab nationalism in its initial phases, and to fill a gap in the Western political liter­ature on the Arabs.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 1962 Hamid Enayat
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JZ International relations

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