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Theme Changer

 Topic: Sociology and anthropology

 (Read 3494 times)
  • 1« Previous thread | Next thread »
  • Sociology and anthropology
     OP - September 22, 2014, 10:15 AM

    I wonder if good introductions to these subjects, looking at the religious aspects, might be very important in helping wean people off religion?

    Maybe we should not be attacking particular examples of religions but undermining the foundations?

    When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


    A.A. Milne,

    "We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #1 - September 22, 2014, 10:23 AM

    I've often thought that teaching anthropology and ethics to children instead of religion would make a hell of a lot of sense.

    Devious, treacherous, murderous, neanderthal, sub-human of the West. bunny
  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #2 - September 22, 2014, 11:03 AM

    They think it is anthropology and ethics.

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #3 - September 22, 2014, 01:04 PM

    Found an interesting introduction!

    Quote
    I, like most people and most anthropologists, am intrigued by religion. I have studied the subject for over thirty years and taught it for over fifteen. The current book emerged out of my teaching and research experiences and develops a number of themes that are crucial to understanding not only religion but the anthropological approach to religion. The first theme is the diversity between religions: There are many religions in the world, and they are different from each other in multiple and profound ways.

    Not all religions refer to gods, nor do all make morality a central issue, etc. No religion is “normal” or “typical” of all religions; the truth is in the diversity. Since anthropology is the study of the diversity of human thoughts and actions, this perspective is natural for us.

    A second theme, less obvious, is the diversity within religions: Ordinarily we think of a religion as a single homogeneous set of beliefs and practices. The reality is quite otherwise: Within any religion there is a variety of beliefs and practices—and interpretations of those beliefs and practices— distributed throughout space and time. Within the so-called world religions this variety can be extensive and contentious, one or more variations regarded as “orthodox.”

    A third theme is the integration of religion with its surrounding culture. In anthropology, this is the familiar principle of holism or cultural integration—that all of the parts of a culture are interconnected and mutually influencing. Beyond simply being integrated, we will find that religion tends to be, as Mary Douglas expressed it, “consonant” with its culture and society as well.

    Each culture and society has a style, a feel, an ethos which religion tends to replicate, making the experience of culture—even the “bodily” experience—consistent and symmetric.

    A fourth theme is what we will call the “modularity” of religion: a religion is not even a single, monolithic “thing” but a composite of many elements or bits, virtually all of which have their nonreligious cognates. That is, there is religious ritual and there is nonreligious ritual; there is religious violence and there is nonreligious violence. Further, not all of the modules in a religion are necessarily “religious”; rather, religion may integrate nonreligious components like politics, economics, gender, technology, and popular culture.

    A fifth theme is the relativity of language, which is a particularly subtle yet crucial problem in the anthropological study of religion. We describe and analyze religions in language, as we must, but our language is seldom if ever neutral or universal. In the Western exploration of religion, our terminology generally comes from the Christian perspective, where “god” and “heaven” and “sin” and “soul” and “worship” and even “belief” and “religion” itself are appropriate and intelligible. However, in discussing other religions, these terms may not be appropriate or intelligible. We must, then, be alert to the danger of imposing alien concepts and ideas to foreign religions that do not possess them.

    A sixth and final theme is the local and practiced nature of religion. Since religions are internally diverse, the same religion in different times and places will vary. Of course, “traditional” or “tribal” religions—the ones with which anthropology is most associated—are local; that is often taken to be one of their defining qualities. However, even world religions like Christianity or Islam ultimately consist of a congeries of local variations, affected by the agents who introduced them, the other religion(s) in the society, the specific actors and their interpretations, and so on. Then, anthropologists do not focus on the “official” or “high” or “canonical” version of religions, particularly as we find them in texts and scriptures or in the understandings of officials and specialists.

    Anthropology instead emphasizes how real human individuals conceive and use their religious resources—beliefs, objects, texts, rituals, and specialists—in specific social contexts for specific social and personal reasons. That is, we are less interested in the doctrine of a religion than in the lived practice of the religion.


    http://chairoflogicphiloscult.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/ellerj-d-_introducing-anthropology-of-religion.pdf

    When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


    A.A. Milne,

    "We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #4 - September 22, 2014, 01:35 PM

    I wonder if good introductions to these subjects, looking at the religious aspects, might be very important in helping wean people off religion?

    Maybe we should not be attacking particular examples of religions but undermining the foundations?


    It did help me refined my critical approach towards religions,its sects and movements to avoid making generalisations like most people do. Environment influences matter too

    "I'm standing here like an asshole holding my Charles Dickens"

    "No theory,No ready made system,no book that has ever been written to save the world. i cleave to no system.."-Bakunin
  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #5 - September 22, 2014, 02:57 PM

    I just came across this. I haven't read it so I've no idea how good it is:
    Religion and Anthropology: A Critical Introduction - Brian Morris

    This is probably worth looking at. I've read it but a long time ago and my memory of it is a bit hazy:
    Muslim Society - Ernest Gellner

    Ernest Gellner was an interesting writer, though he seems to have gone out of fashion. The following is from a lecture on Marxism and Islam given, I think, shortly before he died in 1995.
    http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/courses01/rrtw/Gellner2.htm
    Quote
    There are two big events of this century which obviously deserve our
    attention.  One is the failure of Marxism; the other is the success of
    Islam. I am an outsider to both these faiths. The terms I use are
    analytical or sociological. They do not imply endorsement or condemnation
    from an absolute viewpoint; they express the judgments of an observer of
    society concerned sympathetically with the fate of the people involved in
    these systems.

    Let me begin with the failure of Marxism and my attempt to understand it.
    Marxism has often been compared, I think correctly, to a religion...

    <snip>

    Now let me consider the other major interesting phenomenon of our age, the
    victory and success of Islam. In the social sciences, one of the commonest
    theses is the secularisation thesis, which runs as follows. Under
    conditions prevailing in industrial- scientific society, the hold of
    religion over society and its people diminishes. By and large this is
    true, but it is not completely true, for there is one major exception,
    Islam. In the last hundred years the hold of Islam over Muslims has not
    diminished but has rather increased. It is one striking counter-example to
    the secularisation thesis. Like the failure of Marxism, it is a
    fascinating intellectual problem that serves as a background to the more
    practical, moral and political problems which are the concerns of this
    symposium.

    I would tentatively and in all humility attempt to offer you an
    explanation. The Western perception of the strength of Islam is distorted
    by the fact that the West has largely noticed this fact in connection with
    the Khomeyni revolution. Although the Iranian revolution is,
    unquestionably, the most dramatic manifestation of the social and
    political vigour of Islam, it is in some interesting ways untypical, which
    somewhat distorts the perception. The social and political vigour of Islam
    is something which long antedates that particular revolution and ought not
    to be identified with it.

    <snip>

    What then is the distinctive feature of Islam amongst the high religions?
    I think all high religions, by a high religion I mean a religion equipped
    with a scripture, a doctrine, and a professional core of interpreters,
    tend to suffer from a tension between the high variant and the folk
    variant. This takes a very specific form in Islam. The high variant is the
    faith of the scholars, unitarian, pure and puritan, spiritualist,
    anti-mediationist and anti-hierarchical. Their's is an egalitarian
    religion stressing the unity of God, the symmetry in the relationship
    between believer and God, with an ethic of rule observance rather than an
    ethic of loyalty to particular individuals. There is such a strong
    distrust of mediation, that there is a special name for the sin of
    associationship and of the use of mediators. By contrast, folk religion is
    more oriented towards mystical practices, hierarchy and a kind of
    surrogate priesthood in the form of cultish living saints.

    If I read Muslim history correctly, within the history of Islam, from
    whenever it shook down after the early first centuries under the impact of
    the West, there was a tension between these two. Sometimes they lived in
    harmony, interpenetrating each other. Often the tension was expressed in
    the form of revivalist movements attempting to establish the true faith of
    the scholars against the corrupt version of the folk. Then came the impact
    of the West. Of course this occurred at different times and in different
    regions, as early as the Napoleonic invasion in Egypt, as late as the
    French invasion of Morocco in 1912, and even later in places like the
    Yemen.

    Under the impact of Westernisation, Muslim society can reform itself
    without facing the dilemma which the Europeans faced, namely either to
    westernise or to idealise the folk culture. This is because it can invoke
    its own high tradition which is always respected, but usually not fully
    implemented, honoured in the breach, but not always in the observance.
    Muslims like to think that the high tradition goes back to the Prophet and
    his companions. I find this historically implausible, because I think that
    the circumstances in which they worked were different. But what is
    unquestionably true is that there is a genuine well-established old local
    tradition, and that it has many of the features which make it suitable for
    conferring what you may call international dignity: a very low level of
    magic, low ritualisation, egalitarianism and all kinds of features which
    make it compatible with modern conditions, and in particular the
    conditions of self-correction and industrial, economic and scientific
    catching up. Islam is more compatible with this than are the more
    hierarchical, ritual-ridden aspects of other religions. In brief, the
    Islamic World escapes the dilemma which, in my argument, pervades other
    societies caught in the trap of temporary underdevelopment.

    Islam revives in the name of its own high tradition, not in the name of
    either the West or in the name of a populist idealisation of the folk
    culture. Muslims leave the latter to Western romantics; they do not
    themselves practise this and what they idealise is the old high tradition,
    in which case it appears as fundamentalism.

    The definition of the term "fundamentalism" has a double edge, a double
    frontier. What fundamentalism says is that religion, its doctrines and its
    prescriptions are to be taken seriously;  they mean what they say, neither
    more nor less. The doctrine of firm interpretation has of course two
    negations.

    The first is a Western one which says that religion does not really mean
    what it says, and is in fact just a kind of symbolic expression. Talking
    to uneducated people like peasants and fishermen in Galilee, the founder
    of the dominant Western faith had to use simple language because if he
    talked modern philosophy they would not have understood him. But he really
    meant the latest philosophic fashion. So you get Christianity which in
    this sense tends to be vulgarised. In each generation it gets restated,
    and the basic message is: the doctrine does not mean what it says, it
    really means what the latest prophet has been saying, in simple language
    so that a simple fisherman can understand it.

    The other one of course is esotericism: the doctrine of the hidden
    meaning, that there is a special secret way that the religion is
    stratified. Islamic fundamentalism fought on both these fronts. On the one
    hand, it opposed that alliance between itself and its folk use of
    mediators, while on the other hand it enhanced the stratification of an
    inner truth and an outer truth. If my diagnosis is correct, that the
    strength of Islam comes from this fundamentalism and self-correction in
    terms of a literal doctrine taken seriously, a kind of combination of
    simple and elegant unitarianism in theology with a firm set of rules for
    social life, why should the most dramatic manifestation of fundamentalism
    have appeared in Iran? It seems to go against the thesis, because of the
    sects established by the fissions in the early history of Islam, Shi'ism
    is of course in theological terms, furthest to the right, most given to a
    cult of personality, and to ritualism.

    My answer to this is that although the cult of personality, combined with
    the cult of martyrdom, was very useful in the act of political
    mobilisation practised by Khomeyni, it was rapidly dropped in the course
    of success. What Khomeyni in fact did was Sunnify Islam. I have studied
    Khomeyni's works in the translation of his Welsh convert and acolyte
    Algar, and it seems to me very clear that the social and political
    doctrine of the kind of Islamic republicanism you get in Khomeyni's
    thought is a shift from a cult of personality to a cult of law, in other
    words a shift towards Sunnism.

    Khomeyni does not deny the authority of the hidden Imams, but politically
    speaking he pensions them off. They are really politically irrelevant.
    What matters about religion is the implementation of the law.  When the
    Imam comes back, of course, the authority will be his and he will take on
    government, but until he comes back the law must be implemented by those
    most competent to do so. Who else can do this but the lawyers? They will
    implement the law neither more nor less severely before or after his
    coming. His coming is almost a political accident. Khomeyni has rude
    things to say about such things as the cult of saints. So without actually
    abolishing the cult of personality there has been a kind of transfer or
    movement to a cult of the law away from the cult of personality, which I
    took to be the crucial distinguishing line between Sunnism and Shi'ism.

    Let me now come back to the contrast with Marxism. Once again I have an
    interesting little disagreement, it is a matter of stress really, with
    Professor Keane. Professor Keane rightly pointed out that Islam is not
    just faith; it is an ordering of social life. Yes indeed, but it is an
    ordering of social life that does not fully sacralise it. In the
    regulation of economic life, for instance, Islam provides a set of hand
    rails so that people know where they are but it does not actually say that
    economic life in itself is sacred.

    In other words, Muslims have a sphere of the profane to which they can
    retreat at times of less and maximum religious zeal.  When it had the
    opportunity to play at the world of religion, Marxism deprived humanity of
    that zone precisely by sacralising the economic. If it had ritual and
    symbolic objects, they were the tractors, the images of muscular workers,
    huge socialist dams and so on. Economic life provided the sacraments for
    that religion. But when economic life in the end turned out to be both
    squalid and markedly less efficient, then Marxism collapsed. I think one
    of the most important factors in the final self-destruction of the Soviet
    Union was the discovery that Western capitalism could indeed be overtaken,
    but not by them; the people who were doing it were the Confucianists of
    East Asia and not the Marxists of the Euro-Asian centre.  That discovery
    was crucial in causing the loss of faith which led to the self-dismantling
    of a system which had not provided a zone in which people could retreat
    when they wanted to work out their way.

    Islam does provide for such a zone, which is one of the things which makes
    it a workable modern religion. It combines firm guidance in an idiom
    compatible with modern backgrounds, with a respect for the type of social
    division which is essential for a viable society.

    <snip>

  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #6 - September 22, 2014, 03:58 PM

    Ernest Gellner again: Religion and the Profane
    Quote
    <snip>

    Let us now examine Islam. Why is lslam so astonishingly successful? Why is it resistant to secularization? I shall begin by offering a model of what traditional Islam was like (without going into the early History of Islam). To put it simply, Islam, at least that of the arid zone between the Hindu Kush and the Atlantic and the Niger bend, was divided between a high culture and a low culture – a high Islam and a low Islam – and these two coexisted in an unstable way. Most of the time they were peaceful, but nevertheless had conflicts at fairly regular intervals. The chief difference between the two is that high Islam does not permit mediators (it has a special name for the sin of mediation: shirk), while the world of low Islam is full of them. High Islam encourages a direct relationship between a unique deity and the individual believer; it is not attached to ritual, contains little magic and supernatural belief, and is heavily moralistic, scripturalist, puritan, monotheistic, and individualistic. It is the Islam of the scholars – the high Islam recognized as valid by the believers but not practiced by them. It is not practiced because it does not correspond to the needs of the lower classes and above all the rural Muslims, who for obvious reasons require a much more Durkheimian religion – in other words, a religion in which the sacred has its mediators, its incarnation, and which mirrors the social structure. Most of the rural Muslims were encadrés, incorporated in rural autonomous or semi-autonomous congregations, village lineages, tribes, clans, and the like. For their internal organization and life, they had a Durkheimian religion where the sacred is incarnated in periodic rituals, in sacred objects, sacred practices, sacred persons. One can say that an upper-class, urban, individualistic, puritan, "protestant" Islam (which is strangely united by the theologians and jurists who are its main carriers, despite the lack of a central organization and any kind of central secretariats and hierarchy) coexisted with a fragmented, "Catholic" Islam which had the "Catholic" characteristics of hierarchy, ritualization, employment of the sensuous forms of religion, of mystical exercises, and so on. One can see how this fits well with Durkheim's theories of religion having the function of underwriting, rendering visible, and legitimating the communal organization in which Muslims lived. During periodic attempts at self-reformation, these two forms came into conflict, but most of the time they coexisted harmoniously. On this issue I agree with the theory best formulated by David Hume about the oscillation in the religious life of mankind between Protestant-type and Catholic-type religions. In periodic outbursts of zeal and self-reformation, the puritans would temporarily prevail, but the exigence and the demands of social life would again lead to a swing-back to a personalized, hierarchical, ritualized, non-scriptural religion with an ethic of loyalty rather than an ethic of rules. Thus Islam existed in a permanent oscillation between unsuccessful reformations and reversions to the old cultural habits. And, of course, there is a specific difference between Islam and western European Christianity in this matter: in western Europe, the hierarchical, ritualized loyalty-ethics is at the centre and carried by an institution rather than by abstract doctrine, while the individualist, scripturalist, puritan version is fragmented and relatively marginal. In Islam, it is the other way around; the central tradition is individualist and scriptural, and the fragmented deviationists are hierarchical, ritualistic, and so on – a kind of mirror image.

    As far as I can see, there is nothing to stop Islam oscillating between these two forms. The oscillation was noted by the superb Muslim sociologist lbn Khaldun around 1400, and echoed by Friedrich Engels in a passage where he obviously uses lbn Khaldun without actually quoting him. He says – contradicting the main thesis of Marxism – that all classes and class-societies are inherently unstable and due for internal destruction through their internal contradictions. In this passage, the dreadful ethnocentrism of the two founding fathers of Marxism comes out as he specifies that the instability of classes and class-societies applies to "us" Europeans, whereas "those" Orientals, especially Arabs and Muslims, are locked in a kind of cyclical world which never manages to break out. And, admittedly, our social conflicts are distorted through the prism of religious language, but at least when the religious conflict is over something new emerges and we reach a higher level. All the Orientals do is go around in a circle.

    My theory of why Muslim fundamentalism has the astonishing strength that it does is the following: modern conditions unhinged the pendulum of this unstable oscillation and permanently and definitively shifted the centre of gravity away from the pluralistic, hierarchical, organizational, Durkheimian style to that of high Islam. Of course, the reason why this happened is that the process of modernization, the political and economic centralization employed by the colonial and post-colonial states, destroyed those communities that had provided the basis for the Durkheimian or low- culture style of Islam. By turning clansmen, lineage members, villagers, and tribesmen into labor migrants and shantytown dwellers, it atomized the population and prompted them to find their identity in a high religion, in a high culture, that provides an identity shared by all Muslims, uniting them against the outsiders. Previously there did not exist a national identity in Muslim countries. Most people were first and foremost members of a local community under a local authority. Modern Muslim nations, especially in ex-colonial countries, are simply the summation of Muslims in a given territory. But this does mean that lslam provided the identification against the other.

    It provided a ratification of their transition from a rural to an urban world, and it provided an idiom for expressing their change of status from that of rustic ignoramuses to people aspiring to urban sophistication. It also provided them – as is presently visible in the bitter and tragic conflict in Algeria – with a means of criticizing their current rulers. It provided an idiom for those non-Westernized people who take their Islam seriously, as against the technocrat Mamlukes who govern them in virtue of their access to Western technology. I think it is in these terms – the reaction of recently urbanized, disoriented Muslims who are separated from their previous saint cults and local structures but who need to define themselves against an exploitative, semi-Westernized upper class – that the wave of Muslim fundamentalism should be understood.

    <snip>

  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #7 - September 22, 2014, 04:06 PM

    Is it successful? Isn't Islam a horrible mess of tribal, feudal and scholastic memes?

    When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


    A.A. Milne,

    "We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #8 - September 22, 2014, 04:24 PM

    I think Gellner meant 'successful' in terms in terms of surviving and adapting as a system of belief in the face of modernisation. I don't think he meant it as a value judgement. Anyway I'm open to people's views on Gellner's arguments and how well they stand up twenty years on.

    Here's a pdf of his book Postmodernism, Reason and Religion:
    http://okhovvat.com/files/en/content/2011/6/4/351_379.pdf

    A link for most of the text of Muslim Society:
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=bLnUyrlpCDsC&pg=PA272&lpg=PA272&dq=gellner+muslim+society&source=bl&ots=s1uButgBTY&sig=VToOoEYXumtleraBbYKWYe3uoAg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7mUgVOnhEMbN7QaOi4GADA&ved=0CCAQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=gellner%20muslim%20society&f=false

    A critique of Gellner referring to the experience of Turkish Alevis in Germany:
    Gellner and Islam

    And a more critical take on Gellner's interpretation of Islam:
    The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam

    I'll wait for an opinion on all this from schizo.
  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #9 - November 15, 2015, 07:58 PM

    A summary of Gellner's thinking, including his interpretation of Islam:
    Ernest Gellner's social philosophy and political sociology
  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #10 - November 16, 2015, 01:11 AM

    You know I was just thinking of writing something about psychology. I love to read studies (I'm boring) but something I keep thinking about when I read of terrorist attacks etc is of a particular study on human expression of violence. In that study (forgot the details and too lazy to dig it up), the findings concluded that people WANT to find reasons to not kill even in circumstances of war. It was a study basically on sociopathy and most normal people will find ways to not hurt the other people and will deliberately try to reason or to find an excuse to NOT kill/maim/hurt. That is supposedly the inherent psychological make-up of people and the study shows that it greatly traumatized people to go forth and do the act of violence.

    However, it also stated that when the audience cost was low, and when it was permissible or expected under the circumstances, sociopaths have no such hesitations. And that when people have an avenue they can use that allows them greater liberty to express their violent sociopathic tendencies (and not all sociopaths are violent) they absolutely did. The studies showed that there were equal amount of sociopaths in the tested countries (a few western countries and some eastern ones, mainly China). It stated that sociopaths were able to express their more unpleasant tendencies in western countries because of the overall culture is more individualistic and allows for less audience cost when indulging in malevolent tendencies. However, in China, it was difficult for people to indulge in violent sociopathic tendencies because the cost (by which societal etc. costs) was too high.

    The study also highlighted that it was easier for people to disassociate from their tasks if they were non-sociopaths, if the audience cost of NOT killing/maimimg/hurting was too high. They are able to remove the intended victims from any sympathetic light and see them as a complete other and the cost of NOT hurting them is too high.

    I'm not an expert and if others have any insight on this it would be great, but I always feel that any dogma can sometimes help people express their inherent violent tendencies if they have evidence that suits their psychological needs at that point. It can help them justify their violent needs to people who would otherwise condemn their acts based on their humanity alone. I mean if our INHERENT nature is to NOT hurt/maim/kill others even in times of distress (if only because we are a social species that needs social bonds to survive as a whole) I often think that it a very powerful thing. I think it's what people say when they condemn violence because they inherently know it is wrong, without people claiming any dogma says that it is wrong. And then comes the internal battle between "yes they are the other" and "but it's wrong."

    While I think religions have the power to do tremendous good, the way religions "other" people has to be struck down and out of ALL dogmas because it literally feels like it is counterproductive to the essence of human nature.  Not sure if I'm just rambling or not but I'm a bit shaken up from all the crap there is going on in the world and I always have these thoughts running through my head at that point.
  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #11 - November 16, 2015, 12:29 PM

    A site I came across looking at these issues

    http://www.conflictandhealth.com

    When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


    A.A. Milne,

    "We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #12 - August 20, 2017, 06:13 PM

    Engineers of Jihad

    https://www.sociology.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/2007-10.pdf
    Quote
    Abstract. We find that graduates from subjects such as science, engineering, and medicine are strongly overrepresented among Islamist movements in the Muslim world, though not among the extremist Islamic groups which have emerged in Western countries more recently. We also find that engineers alone are strongly over-represented among graduates in violent groups in both realms. This is all the more puzzling for engineers are virtually absent from left-wing violent extremists and only present rather than over-represented among right-wing extremists. We consider four hypotheses that could explain this pattern. Is the engineers’ prominence among violent Islamists an accident of history amplified through network links, or do their technical skills make them attractive recruits? Do engineers have a ‘mindset’ that makes them a particularly good match for Islamism, or is their vigorous radicalization explained by the social conditions they endured in Islamic countries? We argue that the interaction between the last two causes is the most plausible explanation of our findings, casting a new light on the sources of Islamic extremism and grounding macro theories of radicalization in a micro-level perspective.

  • Sociology and anthropology
     Reply #13 - August 21, 2017, 03:45 AM

    Engineers of Jihad

    https://www.sociology.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/2007-10.pdf

    Abstract. We find that graduates from subjects such as science, engineering, and medicine are strongly overrepresented among Islamist movements in the Muslim world, though not among the extremist Islamic groups which have emerged in Western countries more recently. We also find that engineers alone are strongly over-represented among graduates in violent groups in both realms. This is all the more puzzling for engineers are virtually absent from left-wing violent extremists and only present rather than over-represented among right-wing extremists. We consider four hypotheses that could explain this pattern. Is the engineers’ prominence among violent Islamists an accident of history amplified through network links, or do their technical skills make them attractive recruits? Do engineers have a ‘mindset’ that makes them a particularly good match for Islamism, or is their vigorous radicalization explained by the social conditions they endured in Islamic countries? We argue that the interaction between the last two causes is the most plausible explanation of our findings, casting a new light on the sources of Islamic extremism and grounding macro theories of radicalization in a micro-level perspective.

    interesting 90 page paper by Engineers of Jihad1  Diego Gambetta,   and
     Steffen Hertog, University of Durham  ..  starting with that fool Ayman al-Zawahiri  quote..

    “You have trivialized our movement by your mundane analysis. May God have mercy on you”

    I would not consider these fools as engineers and doctors.,  They highschool big mouths  and college dropouts

    Do not let silence become your legacy.. Question everything   
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
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