Beyond Sunni and Shia: The Roots of Sectarianism in a Changing Middle East

November 28, 2020
Beyond Sunni and Shia: The Roots of Sectarianism in a Changing Middle East

This collection seeks to advance our understanding ofintra-Islamic identity conflict during a period of upheaval in theMiddle East. Instead of treating distinctions between and withinSunni and Shia Islam as primordial and immutable, it examines howpolitical economy, geopolitics, domestic governance, social media,non- and sub-state groups, and clerical elites have affected thetransformation and diffusion of sectarian identities.Particular attention is paid to how conflicts over distributionof political and economic power have taken on a sectarian quality,and how a variety of actors have instrumentalized sectarianism. Thevolume, covering Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf,Iran, and Egypt, includes contributors from a broad array ofdisciplines including political science, history, sociology, andIslamic studies.Beyond Sunni and Shia draws on extensive fieldwork andprimary sources to offer insights that are empirically rich andtheoretically grounded, but also accessible for policy audiencesand the informed public.