The Sacrificial Paradox Of Sovereignty: Martydom And Islamist Conscientious Objection
This dissertation tells the story of Islamist Conscientious Objectors (COs) in Turkey who resist the obligatory duty of conscription and cultural valorizations of martyrdom through a nonviolent civil resistance based on anti-authoritarian interpretations of Islam. Blending political theory with political ethnography and comparative politics of the Middle East, I approach this civil dissent as a potent demonstration of the uses and abuses of religious principles in democratic politics and war - both by the sovereign state and its contestants. Weaving together their anti-authoritarian interpretations of Islamic doctrines with theories and tactics of nonviolent resistance developed internationally, the COs challenge both the institution of conscription and the Turkish state's invocations of jihad and martyrdom in its military - an institution historically associated with staunch secularism in Turkey. Theoretically, I relate the issues raised by my fieldwork to debates about democratic citizenship, sovereignty, and secularism. Contrary to conventional interpretations, I find that in foundational theories of liberal democracy, military obligations of citizens are legitimized through appeals to the dominant religious values and principles in a community. Providing a broad picture of the productive engagements with non-Western political thought opened up by the political-theological perspective, the dissertation demonstrates the ambivalent but crucial roles faith and theological values play in modern politic iii
Content file updated at author's request on 2015-04-09.
sovereignty; martyrdom; Islam and conscientious objection
Frank, Jason; Kramnick, Isaac; Evangelista, Matthew Anthony; Bensel, Richard F
Ph. D., Government
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis