Journal Article - Journal of Conflict Resolution

Arab Responses to Western Hegemony: Experimental Evidence from Egypt

| July 21, 2016


Scholars have long held that Islamism—defined as a political ideology that demands the application of Islamic holy law and the deepening of religious identity—is in part a response to Western domination of Muslim lands. Drawing on the literatures on nationalism and international relations theory, we argue that Islamism is one of a menu of options that Muslims may adopt in response to Western hegemony—a menu that includes Arab nationalism and pro-Western accommodation. We hypothesize that a Muslim’s ideological response to Western domination is a function of the type of domination experienced—that is, military, cultural, or economic—as well as of individual-level characteristics such as intensity of religious practice. We test this hypothesis with a nationally representative survey experiment conducted in Egypt. We find that, among subjects in our study, pro-Western responses to Western domination were more common than “Islamist” or “nationalist” ones and that these were particularly driven by reminders of the West’s economic ascendancy. These findings suggest that foreign domination does not always yield defensive responses and often produces desires for greater cooperation with the hegemon.

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For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Nugent, Elizabeth, Tarek Masoud and Amaney Jamal. Arab Responses to Western Hegemony: Experimental Evidence from Egypt.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, (July 21, 2016) .

The Authors