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Title: Pursuing the international relations of Islam : a critique of IR theory
Author: Sheikh, Faiz Ahmed
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis aims to develop an embryonic theory of Islamic international relations (IR). Rather than attempt to fully articulate an Islamic concept of IR, a task that will be argued to be unachievable, the thesis will instead use the case of Islamic IR, loosely defined, to challenge certain central concepts in IR that are seen as immutable. In this way, the thesis is using the case of Islam as an example of a tradition on the margins of IR, to critique the ‘centre’. The research will therefore pursue dual themes: 1) Exploring what an Islamic construction of IR looks like and 2) Analysing the impediments that an Islamic IR faces when interacting with other, more dominant paradigms and concepts in the discipline. The above goals are explored by using a two stage analysis. In the first stage, the thesis examines the dominant concepts in IR which prevent the articulation of religious politics generally and Islamic politics specifically, in the international sphere. The thesis will argue that these otherwise immutable IR concepts are secularism in the discipline and the continuing centrality of the state. The thesis frustrates the immutability of these concepts given the specific cultural and religious setting of their genesis. After the first stage of this analysis the thesis will have created a space in which alternative theories, which do not sit well with secularism or the state, can develop; in the Islamic example this is represented by the concept of the umma (community of Muslims). In the second stage of analysis the thesis will construct, as much as is possible, a notion of IR derived from an Islamic heritage. This construction of IR will be communally and rationally based, as opposed to being based on theological guidance or abstract rationality.
Supervisor: Jones, Clive ; Dean, Jonathan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available