Dr Raphaël Lefèvre in conversation with Dr Neil Ketchley about his recent book, 'Jihad in the City: Militant Islamism and Contentious Politics in Tripoli' (Cambridge University Press, 2021).
Militant Islamists are often assumed to be driven by global goals and transnational networks. But this narrative misses a crucial point: from Tawhid during the Lebanese civil war to Tahrir al-Sham in the current Syrian conflict, Islamist armed groups often seek to recruit and mobilize local communities not appealed by their religious ideology - certain tribes, social classes, and neighbourhoods. Why? How do they go about it? And to what extent, then, is all Islamist politics local?
Dr Raphaël Lefèvre is a Senior Fellow at the University of Oxford and Research Associate at the University of Aarhus. He investigates Islamist armed groups in the Middle East. His latest book is Jihad in the City: Militant Islamism and Contentious Politics in Tripoli (Cambridge University Press, 2021). He is also the author of Ashes of Hama, the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria (Oxford University Press, 2013). His PhD thesis which he did at the University of Cambridge was awarded the Bill Gates Sr Prize by the Gates Cambridge Trust and the Syrian Studies Association Prize.
Dr Neil Ketchley is Associate Professor in Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations, the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, and a Fellow of St Antony's College. He is a political scientist of the Arabic-speaking Middle East and North Africa working at the intersections of political sociology and comparative politics. Neil's book, Egypt in a Time of Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2017), won the Charles Tilly Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award. His current research interests include episodes of mass protest in the MENA, the rise of political Islam in interwar Egypt, and the changing profiles of regional political elites.
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