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Author: Faisal Devji
Publisher: Foundation Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 1850657750
The militant Islam represented by Al Qaeda is often described as a global movement. Apart from the geographical range of its operations and support, little else is held to define it as global. Its militants’ international mobility and their technological sophistication are portrayed as the only signs of the jihadis globalisation.
Landscapes of the Jihad explores the features that Al Qaeda and other strands of militant Islam share with global movements such as environmentalists and anti-globalisation protesters. These include a decentralized organization and an emphasis on ethical rather than properly political action. Devji brings these and other characteristics of Al Qaeda together in an analysis of the jihad that locates it squarely within the transformation of political thought after the Cold War.
According to Devji the jihad emerges from the breakdown of traditional as well as modern forms of authority in the Muslim world. It is neither dogmatic in an old-fashioned way nor ideological in the modern sense, and concerned neither with correct doctrinal practice in the present nor with some revolutionary utopia of the future. Instead it is fragmented, dispersed and highly individualistic.
No political theorist, anthropologist or student of Islam will fail to be provoked and inspired by this brilliant analysis of Jihadi discourse, Devji moves effortlessly between theology, history and cultural studies to give us the first major English-language interpretation of the moral world of contemporary Jihad.
-Professor Arjun Appadurai, Provost and John Dewey Professor in the Social Sciences, New School University
Devji’s very original book analyses Al Qaeda and jihad in metaphysical terms, discarding geo-strategic and cultural factors hence the West is also presented as a metaphysical entity. Globalization is thus not linked to strategy, territory or culture. The concept of landscape summarises his approach: action crates its own landscapes and is not the expression of a pre-existing cultural, territorial or strategic divide. Hence there emerge different landscapes: of jihad, of mysticism, of media and of film, all of which combine with each other. Jihad may appear extreme, but it embodies the new values on which actors do act in this world, which means that there is, paradoxically, common ground between jihadists and their opponent. Devji’s original analysis of the writings of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri is very illuminating and substantiates his iconoclastic approach.
-Professor Olivier Roy, author, Globalised Islam: The Search for a New Ummah
1. Effects without Causes
2. A Democratic History of Holy War
3. Monotheistic Geographies
4. Media and Martyrdom
5. The Death of God
6. New World Order