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'Sectarianism' and Its Discontents in the Study of the Middle East

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This article offers a critical examination of the vocabulary associated with the study of 'sectarianism' in the Middle East. It surveys Arabic- and English-language works on 'sectarianism' to illustrate how the term's lack of definition has allowed it to be used in contradictory ways that render it, not simply meaningless, but distortive to our understanding of the region. In addition, the term 'sectarianism', with its inescapably negative connotations, has been used as a tool to neutralize political dissent and stigmatize people's religious identity and otherwise legitimate acts of expression and mobilization.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2017-06-01

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