Islamist Movements and Contentious Politics in the Middle East

  • Studiepoeng10
  • UndervisingssemesterVår
  • EmnekodeSAMPOL211
  • Talet på semester1
  • Språk


  • Ressursar


Spring - irregular (the course is offered in spring 2017)

Mål og innhald

The 2011 Arab uprisings and their political aftermaths brought Islamist movements into the center of public and scholarly debates. Whether these debates are on al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq; the tensions between self-declared Shia and Sunni Islamist groups in Lebanon and Yemen; or about those Islamists - such as the Tunisian Ennahda and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood - that created political parties and participated in democratic elections: they are testimony to the diversity of the Islamist phenomenon. This course teaches students to differentiate and analyze Islamist movements and the context in which they emerge, thereby gaining an understanding of Islamist movements active in the Middle East today.

The course uses a social movement approach to explore contemporary Islamism in the Middle East. Students are provided with an overview of the political history of the region, theoretical debates regarding social movements & contentious politics and a survey of Islamist groups. Students are challenged to critically apply their knowledge of social movement debates - related specifically to the political process approach, collective identity formation and framing strategies - in an analysis of Islamist claim making. This analysis builds on a range of contemporary primary sources: from the writings of Ennahda's Rashed Ghannouchi, to statements of leading Saudi Wahabi Shaykhs and those from al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The course is divided into the following sections:

  1. History of the Middle East and Islamist Movements.
  2. The Political Sociology of Contentious Politics and Social Movements.
  3. Case Studies


Upon completion of the course the student should be able to:


  • Identify and relate structural political, economic and social developments at the basis of the emergence of Islamism in the Middle East.


  • Identify and differentiate Islamist movements across the Arab world; categorize and analyze claims made among these movements.

(General competence)

  • Critically apply debates from political sociology on contemporary Islamist mobilization; and hypothesize future scenarios of Islamist mobilization in the Middle East.

Krav til forkunnskapar

Fulfilment of general admission requirements

Tilrådde forkunnskapar


Krav til studierett

The course is open for students at the University of Bergen who fulfill the general admission requirements.

Undervisningsformer og omfang av organisert undervisning


Obligatorisk undervisningsaktivitet



Take home exam (3 days, maximum 3000 words)


Grading A-F

Fagleg overlapp



Spring - irregular (offered in spring 2017)


The course is evaluated regularly



studieveileder@isp.uib.no/ 55583316