The present study is part of a larger project to chart the socio-cultural dynamics of the South Western Asian region (1918–2007). It is organized around three basic tenets: (1) that the South West Asian region has been (and still is) in long-enduring cultural confrontation with the West; (2) that the confrontation with the West is not to reject the ‘modernity’ of the West, but to suggest an alternative to it; and (3) the confrontation with the West, in the contemporary context, is a function of Western imperialist penetration of the region, and its hegemonic practices. The focus of the study will be on the ‘resurgence’ of movements of political Islam, of which Western social science has, so far, failed to understand its causes. The proposition is to analyse the movements of political Islam as New Social Movements in the process of transition into mainstream political parties, dominating the political life of the whole region. It will further be contended that the disillusionment with the West in the region undermines liberal nationalist movements and feeds into the radicalization of social forces, as resistance movements.

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