I am pleased to inform my friends and readers that my latest book Understanding Muslim Identity Rethinking Fundamentalism, is finally on the bookshelf of (more or less virtual) book shops.
Another book on Islamic fundamentalism?’ I can hear the question echoing among friends, colleagues and readers. Since 2001, more than 100 books and 5,600 articles have been published on Islamic fundamentalism. Broadening the research to agnate labels – such as Islamism (about 200 books and 243 articles), political Islam (345 books and 4,670 articles) and Islamic extremism (only 16 books and 1610 articles) – we can appreciate the amount of scholarly publication pressed into the past seven years.
So, why write another book? I have tried to explain the reasons in the Introduction, which you can read for free. The book provides a very different analysis of what has been labeled ‘Islamic fundamentalism’, and what I prefer to call ‘emotional Islam’.
By rejecting culturalist and essentialist reductionist approaches to it, I have suggested that we need to understand ‘fundamentalism’ not as a ‘thing’ (i.e. cultural object) but as a ‘process’, and start from the individual before looking at the group. Of course, it is only the reader whom can decide whether a book may be interesting or not, but I am sure that Understanding Muslim Identity Rethinking Fundamentalism provides something new to the scholarly debate on radicalism and religious violence. Indeed, although I focus on Muslims, the argument presented in this book is not limited to them, and the theory on which it is based may be tested on other forms of ‘emotional religions’ or even ‘emotional secularism’.
Unfortunately the book is not free (I do not get very much from royalties and free academic books remain my dream!) and today more and more academic books published by serious academic publishers tend to be in hardback – my book is not cheap (but among the cheapest in hardback!) .
Nonetheless, I hope that, if the sale ranks are good, the publisher may decide to reprint the book in paperback. So, if you cannot buy the book, ask your library to buy it. I will be very happy to discuss the topic, chapters and ideas of the book with you.