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Unformatted text preview: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.2, Summer 2002 8 Violence and Terrorism: Feminist Observations on Islamist Movements, States, and the International System Valentine M. Moghadam* The horrific events of September 11, the discovery of a transnational network of Islamic extremists, and the U.S. bombardment of Afghanistan compel us to think seriously about the causes of religious terrorism, the broad implications of violence and militarism, the nature of Islamic fundamentalist movements, and the gender dynamics of political violence. What are the religious, ethnic, political, social, and economic factors behind the deployment of terrorism as a political strategy? Why do Muslim countries produce movements that seek religio-political objectives through violent means? What link, if any, is there between terrorism as a political strategy and militarism as a state strategy? How might the violence of political movements and the violence of states reflect not only dysfunction in domestic and international relations but also highly problematical concepts of masculinity? And what are some urgent alternatives to terrorism and militarism? These are, I believe, some of the pressing questions that confront and require serious attention from researchers, policy-makers, and decision-makers. 1 I cannot begin to provide answers or explanations to all of the above questions and issues. 2 I will, however, address the gender aspects of terrorism and violence and describe some feminist alternatives. And because Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.2, Summer 2002 9 political Islam has been implicated in the events of September 11, I will briefly explore the roots, gender dynamics, and some characteristics of Islamist movements. Fundamentalist Movements: Modernization, Globalization, and Gender The Islamic fundamentalist movements of the 20 th century may be understood first in terms of general historical and sociological concepts that pertain to similar movements, and then in terms of the specific historical, social, and political contexts in which they emerged. 3 Like the Protestant fundamentalist movements of the United States in the early 20 th century, Islamic fundamentalist movements have resulted from the contradictions of modernization and social change, including urbanization, proletarianization, secularization, and religious and social marginalization. In a social order that seems to be turning upside down, certain social groups experience a certain anxiety that leads them to seek to recuperate the more familiar values and norms. The (re)turn to religion and the family are typical responses to rapid social change and to the disruptions and uncertainties that modernization brings about. Religious fundamentalists are almost by definition extremely conservative on moral, cultural, and social issues, and in almost all cases they are situated on the right wing of the political spectrum....
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.
- Fall '11