Wrestling with the Research of Others: Olivier Roy, Gilles Kepel, and Islamism
in Understanding Political Islam
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Over the course of a scholarly career, the nature and the quality of interaction with those who share the same field of research is a thorny and important question. The question of which of the representations of the Muslim “Other” is to dominate the public sphere is altogether more important than the individualized ego-quarrels which the hastier (and often the laziest) commentators of academic debates wrap it up in. This chapter synthesizes the author’s critical examination of two main rival theses, associated with the French scholars Olivier Roy and Gilles Kepel, which have structured the French debate on the issue of political Islam.

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