Foto: NTB Scanpix

Hybrid paths to resistance in the Muslim world: Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Mali (HYRES)

2017 - 2020 (Ongoing)

HYRES studies the interaction between Islamist movements and the state in the cases of Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Mali, and is designed to answer the following question: Why do some Islamist groups pursue their political and religious project within the state to which they belong – while other Islamist groups refuse to accept these borders, seeking instead to establish new polities, such as restoring the Islamic Caliphate?

The use of violence appears to be independent of whether groups have a state-oriented or a transnational focus. Four pathways to resistance for Islamist groups can be identified: state-oriented and non-violent; state-oriented and violent; transnationally oriented and non-violent; and transnationally oriented and violent.
The HYRES research project explores how the pathways chosen by protest groups vary and adapt to local, domestic and international contexts. We seek to remedy insufficiencies in the literature on Islamist movements, which has focused too much on structural variables, such as Salafism and Islamic theology, or on domestic variables such as the degree of inclusion/ exclusion of certain population groups. 
We examine three possible explanatory factors: 1) rivalry among competing Islamist groups, often a driver of more radical rhetoric; 2) interaction among various Islamist groups and the state repressive apparatus; 3) import of transnational slogans that resonate with existing local grievances. Applying systematic, comparative analysis, HYRES will propose a general conceptual framework, informed by recent advances in the literature on contentious politics. By identifying variations across the cases studied, we aim to contribute to the broader literature on social movements in non-democratic/ semi-democratic contexts.

The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway through the research programme FRIPRO.