Tribes and Political Islam

  • Thomas Hüsken
Part of the Palgrave Series in African Borderlands Studies book series (PSABS)


This chapter deals with political, social, economic and cultural patterns that are involved in the development of political Islam and Islamism among the Awlad ‘Ali. The chapter offers the portraits of two Salafist preachers and their trajectories as religious activists. It also offers an analysis of the audiences, followers and disciples of the preachers and of Salafist Islam. Islamism is discussed as a social critique and as an evocation of a just order. Processes of radicalization among the Islamists in the borderland are examined, and attention is also drawn to the role of Islamism during and after the Arab revolutions in Egypt and Libya. The rise of Islamism is presented as part of the competitive character of heterarchy in the borderland.


  1. Asad, Talal. 1986. The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam. Washington, DC: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University.Google Scholar
  2. Bayat, Asef. 2010. Life as Politics. How Ordinary People Change the Middle East, ISIM Series on Contemporary Muslim Societies. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cole, Donald P., and Soraya Alorki. 1998. Bedouin, Settlers, and Holiday-Makers. Egypt’s Changing Northwest Coast. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press.Google Scholar
  4. Dawod, Hosham. 2015. The Sunni Tribes in Iraq: between Local Power, the International Coalition and the Islamic State. NOREF Reports. Oslo: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center (NOREF) (renamed Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution (NOREF) in 2016), September.Google Scholar
  5. Evans-Pritchard, Edward. E. 1973 (1949). The Sanusi of Cyrenaica. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Fitzgerald, Mary. 2015. Finding Their Place: Libya’s Islamists During and After the Revolution. In The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath, ed. Peter Cole and Brian McQuinn, 177–204. London: Hurst.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gellner, Ernest. 1969. Saints of the Atlas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Hüsken, Thomas. 2009. The Neotribal Competitive Order in the Borderland of Egypt and Libya. In Respacing Africa, ed. Ulf Engel and Paul Nugent, 169–209. Amsterdam: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. ———. 2013. Tribes, Revolution, and Political Culture in the Cyrenaica Region of Libya. In Local Politics and Contemporary Transformations in the Arab World. Governance Beyond the Center, ed. Malika Bouziane, Cilja Harders, and Anja Hoffmann, 214–231. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  10. Hüsken, Thomas, and Georg Klute. 2015. Political Orders in the Making: Emerging Forms of Political Organization from Libya to Northern Mali. African Security 8 (4): 320–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hüsken, Thomas, and Olin Roenpage. 1998. Jenseits von Traditionalismus und Stagnation. Analyse einer beduinischen Ökonomie in der Westlichen Wüste Ägyptens. Münster: LIT-Verlag.Google Scholar
  12. Kraus, Wolfgang. 2004. Islamische Stammesgesellschaften. Tribale Identitäten im Vorderen Orient in sozialanthropologischer Perspektive. Vienna: Böhlau Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lacher, Wolfram. 2015a. Libyen: Wachstumsmarkt für Jihadisten. In Jihadismus in Afrika. Lokale Ursachen, regionale Ausbreitung, internationale Verbindungen, Guido Steinberg und Annette Weber (Hg.). SWP Research Paper S7. Berlin: German Institute for International and Security Affairs.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 2015b. Libya’s Local Elites and the Politics of Alliance Building. In Dynamics of Transformation, Elite Change and New Social Mobilization in the Arab World, special issue. Mediterranean Politics 21 (1) (2016): 64–84, (online version October 2015).Google Scholar
  15. Pargeter, Alison. 2008. Qadhafi and Political Islam in Libya. In Libya since 1969. Qadhafi’s Revolution Revisited, ed. Dirk Vandewalle, 83–104. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  16. Roy, Oliver. 1999. The Failure of Political Islam. London: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  17. ———. 2017. Introduction. In Tribes and Global Jihadism, ed. Virginie Collombier and Olivier Roy, 1–13. London: Hurst.Google Scholar
  18. Schielke, Samuli. 2010. Second Thoughts about the Anthropology of Islam, or How to Make Sense of Grand Schemes in Everyday Life. Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) Working Papers no. 2. Berlin: ZMO.Google Scholar
  19. Turner, Victor. 1989 (1969). Das Ritual. Struktur und Anti-Struktur. Frankfurt am Main: Campus.Google Scholar
  20. von Benda-Beckmann, Franz. 1994. Rechtspluralismus: analytische Begriffsbildung oder politisch-ideologisches Programm? Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 118 (2): 1–16.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Hüsken
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

Personalised recommendations