On the borders of cultural relativism, nativism, and international society : a promotion of Islamist democracy in the Middle East after the Arab uprisings
Title: On the borders of cultural relativism, nativism, and international society : a promotion of Islamist democracy in the Middle East after the Arab uprisings
Author: KOCA, Metin
Citation: All azimuth ; A journal of foreign policy and peace, 2017, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 43-63
This article focuses on post-Arab-uprising calls for democratization in the Middle East. Scrutinizing the then-Turkish government’s coupling of a cultural relativist norm-promotion discourse in the global arena with a nativist discourse in the Middle East, the paper examines how much our current conceptual tools can explain successes and failures in this process. The article focuses on two schools of thought that pay considerable attention to the role of culture in institution-building: the English School of International Relations (ES) and the nativist strand of post-colonialism. It touches upon two problems in the ES literature and offers two solutions: (1) It reinforces attention on Buzan’s conception of interhuman society compared to the ad hoc blending of different levels of abstraction in cultural analyses. (2) It aims to initiate a dialogue for a more precise distinction between various ideational and behavioral components of the concept of culture, since these components do not necessarily fit well together. Considering these two caveats, the article operationalizes culture in the given case to examine some limitations of the nativist ideological perception of cultural zones and its concurrent claims over true nativity. The paper seeks these limitations, first, by analyzing the extent of cultural commonalities between three sub-regional Islamist movements that shared a strong common identity, and second, by examining the dialogue between ideological mismatches in the constitution-making processes of Egypt and Tunisia.
First published online: 02 May 2017
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