PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis work attempts to radically redefine religious fundamentalism and its relation to modernity; this process unfolds in three stages. First, we demonstrate the incoherence of the standard characterizations in light of a number of factual trends. We explore the various ways intellectuals have attempted to refine and adapt the standard definition in order to accommodate these facts, and the ways in which these attempts ultimately fail. The second stage is a semantic deconstruction of the term. We posit that essential problems with the standard definition arose as a result of inappropriately drawing normative conclusions from descriptive claims, paired with an unjustifiably narrow definition of who constitutes as a fundamentalist. Moreover, we analyze how the term "religious fundamentalism" is typically used in a political fashion. Finally, we demonstrate that the typical definition of religious fundamentalism is more properly understood as a characterization of mass-movements, more generally. Our conclusions are as follows: all ideologies are fundamentalist, in nature. Religious fundamentalism is not opposed to modernity. In fact, secularism and religious fundamentalism are simply competing interpretations of modernism. Accordingly, modernization will necessarily be accompanied by an increase in religious fundamentalism. Therefore, we must rethink what it means to combat extremism and the value of modernization.
Degree ProgramHonors College
Near Eastern Studies