From Religious Belief to Political Commitment: the Fundamentalist Revolt against the Secular Order. Between Cultural Modernity and Neo-Absolutism

  • Bassam Tibi


The reader is already familiar with my criticism on considering the study of culture as well as its application to Islam to be a kind of monopoly for cultural anthropologists.1 Hitherto, the exception of a small community of sociologists involved in cultural analysis2 has been admitted. It was not until the end of the Cold War that the dimension of culture and civilisation factually pertinent to international studies had caught the interest of scholars of this discipline. In the course of the justified rejection of Western universalism, however, a questionable fashion of relativism has evolved in cultural studies, becoming widely disseminated in the contemporary West. The pivotal argument has been that every culture is relative with regard to its own value system. It follows that no culture is in a position to provide objective criteria for critical judgement or a value orientation valid for other cultures. This self-defeating contemporary Western intellectual fashion of cultural relativism amounts to a popular school of thought that at times can be equated with a religious conviction among those who present themselves as postmodernists.


Cultural Relativism Cultural Modernity Religious Fundamentalism Islamic State Islamic Civilisation 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bassam Tibi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of GöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Cornell UniversityUSA

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