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Episode Info: In this talk delivered at King's on 10 October 2017, Dr Rory McCarthy asks how competitive electoral contests have transformed an Islamist movement by looking at the internal debates and struggles that have shaped Tunisia’s al-Nahda since 2011. Drawing on a year’s fieldwork in a Nahdawi community in the provincial city of Sousse, he argues that Islamist politicization during a transition dislocates the relationship between political ambitions and the religious social movement. He identifies three specific points of tension, over ideology, political strategy, and organization, which triggered sharp differences among al-Nahda activists. DR RORY MCCARTHY is a Fellow by Examination (Junior Research Fellow) in Oriental Studies at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he works on social movements, contentious politics, and Islamism in the Middle East and North Africa. He wrote his doctorate on the evolution of the Islamist movement Ennahda in one Tunisian city, and is now working on a new long-term project on the politics of protest in the Middle East after the Arab uprisings. He also wrote Nobody Told Us We Are Defeated: Stories from the New Iraq (Chatto & Windus, 2006) and co-edited Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2016). Previously, he spent a decade as a foreign correspondent with the Guardian, with postings in Islamabad, Baghdad, Beirut, and Jerusalem.
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