Othering within the Islamist spectrum: Ennahda and the oolitical salafists in Tunisia

Lorch, Jasmin / Hatem Chakroun
External Publications (2020)

in: Middle East Law and Governance 12 (2), 198-221

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/18763375-01202006
Open access

While research on Islamist moderation has paid considerable attention to cross-ideological cooperation, it has barely explored whether and how the moderation of Islamist parties is related to interactions inside the Islamist spectrum. We attempt to bridge this gap by using othering as a theoretical-analytical lens with which to analyze the interplay between Ennahda’s moderation and the party’s relations to the political Salafists in Tunisia. We argue that the discursive act of othering the political Salafists has helped Ennahda construct itself both as a moderate, democratic actor representing the ‘true’ version of Tunisian Islam and as an effective and reliable political force. Moreover, while the concept of othering has barely been systematically applied to intra-Islamist relations, we show that it constitutes a fine-grained tool with which to study Islamist moderation in the context of intra-Islamist competition.

About the author

Lorch, Jasmin

Political Science


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