Arab liberal thought in the modern age

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The book provides in-depth analysis of Arab liberalism, which, although lacking public appeal and a compelling political underpinning, still sustained viability over time and remained a constant part of the Arab landscape. The study focuses on the second half of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first century, a period that witnessed continuity as well as change in liberal thinking. Combining an historical perspective that traces lines of continuity and change in Arab liberalism with a comparative analysis of the West, Turkey and Iran, this book seeks to enrich our knowledge of liberal thought in the Arab Middle East. Through an intertwining of the historic, the integrative, and the comparative, Arab liberal thought in the modern age responds to a tendency to overlook the significance of Middle Eastern liberalism in favor of a morew powerful and assertive forces embodied by authorian regimes and Islamic movements. Following in the footsteps of their predecessors, post-1967 liberals not confronted old dilemmas, socio-economic upheavals, political instability and cultural disorientation, but also demonstrated ideological rejuvenation and provided liberal thought with new emphases and visions. Arab liberals' ongoing debates over freedom of religion, secularism, individualism, democracy and human rights were aimed at formulating of a comprehensive liberal project seeking to enact an Arab Enlightenment. -- Book cover. 'An extraordinary accomplishment that is original and thought-provoking. In the late 20th century and early 21st century, during what appeared to be the hegemony of political Islamic radicalism and the authoritarian state in the Arab Middle East, Hatina masterfully reconstructs Arab liberalism and liberal political thought. Analyzing in detail, liberal voices and actions by courageous public-intellectuals, they challenged the overriding authoritarianism with trenchant criticism, speaking truth to power and providing an alternative agenda for freedom of thought and speech, human rights, social equality, women's emancipation, and genuine liberal democracy. Hatina demonstrates that Arab liberalism is still a vital force in both intellectual and practical spheres, and stands to influence political life in the future. ' -- Professor Israel Gershoni, Tel Aviv University 'Arab Liberal Thought in the Modern Age offers a theoretically informed and fair-minded reading of an Arab liberalism that is not so easy to pin down. The analysis of major thinkers is convincing, and the three themes of scepticism, ecumenism and confidence in Arab advancement provide a novel and stimulating approach to varieties of liberalism which go well beyond political or economic doctrine.' -- Professor Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen, University of Copenhagen
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester, United Kingdom
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages258
ISBN (Print)1526142910, 9781526142917
StatePublished - 2020


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