Thursday, March 28, 2013

Panel 4/9: Frameworks/Paradigms between IR & Islam: International Society/Organization, Globalization, and Regionalization

Theme: One International Relations or Many? Multiple Worlds, Multiple Crises
Wednesday 18 – Saturday 21 September 2013
Warsaw, Poland

Organised by the ECPR Standing Group on International Relations and EISA in cooperation with the Institute of International Relations, University of Warsaw and the Polish Association for International Studies.

This panel indicates and explains frameworks and/or paradigms between International Relations and Islam.

Chair: Prof. Dr. Maria do Céu de Pinho Ferreira Pinto (University of Minho, Portugal)
Discussant: Prof. Dr. Katerina Dalacoura is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science

Paper Presenters:

Islamist Norm Entrepreneurs in International Society: Why, How and When do Religious Norms Diffuse in Liberal International Organizations?
Gregorio Bettiza is currently a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI). Gregorio holds PhD in International Relations from LSE and his research focuses on religion and secularism in international relations. And, Filippo Dionigi is currently Fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE). Filippo holds PhD in International Relations from LSE and is interested in research on international norms and Islamist movements especially in the Middle East.

Constructivist scholars have systematically neglected the mechanisms of diffusion of religiously based non-Western norms in liberal settings. In recent decades the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has become an increasingly influential international actor through which Muslim-majority states channel their normative concerns in international society. In particular the OIC has become actively engaged in promoting international norms that challenge, often from an Islamic perspective, hegemonic secular liberal values embedded within the institutions of international society. The paper focuses on two norms that the OIC has attempted to promote within the United Nations (UN) since the 1990s. The first are “dialogue of civilizations” norms. These were successfully institutionalized in 2005, after gathering substantial backing from Western states, with a major UN initiative, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. The second are “religious defamation” norms. These, instead, were relentlessly opposed by Western states and led only to a minor and vague initiative largely outside the UN’s purview in 2011, the Istanbul Process. What explains these diverging results? The paper contends that religiously based non-Western norms have the greatest chances of being fully institutionalized within the UN, an international organization deeply embedded in and constitutive of the liberal international order, only when they can be effectively “translated” into secular liberal norms

The United Nations in Muslim Political Thought and Discourse
Prof. Dr. Turan Kayaoglu (Associate Professor of International Relations, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Tacoma)

This paper analyzes four views on Muslim engagement in the United Nations: rejectionist, realist, Islamic-conservatives, and liberal. The rejectionist views the Muslim engagement with the UN as harmful to the Muslim cause because the UN rests on values such as state sovereignty, secularism, and cooperation incompatible with Islamic political values such as the umma, shari’ah, and dar-ul Islam versus dar-ul Harb. The realist also rejects the Muslim engagement with the UN not because of its incompatibility with Islamic values but because of the imbalance of power within the UN between the great powers and Muslim-majority states. Specifically, the American influence over the UN combined with the deep resentment of American politics towards the Muslim world prompts this group to be very cynical about the UN. The Islamic-conservative views the UN as a forum which can be utilized to demonstrate and defend the truth of Islam and to protect and promote Muslim interest by influencing its normative and political structure. The liberal perspective views the UN useful not just for serving to Muslim interests but for the common good of broader international community.

Possible Synergies between Cultural Globalization, Identity Affiliations and Islamic Religion
Dr. Julien Pelissier (University of Tehran, Iran)

The concepts of cultural globalization and Islamic religion's revival on the international arena are sometimes viewed as competitors or even as antagonists. By inducing two systems of thought, they are supposed to develop feelings of unfitted cultural affiliation that would lead to the emergence of more or less significant identity conflicts. But we try to see here that, once agreed on the definitions to give to them, cultural globalization and Islam may not be antagonistic, but rather complementary and even unseparated on the path of a “world unification”. We try to show here that Islam, as far as it is well-understood and practiced, allows multiple relationships and affiliations which fit all the best with challenges raised by cultural globalization. And indeed, should this assertion be proved to be correct, no doubt that the cultural development of a globalized world would not have to solve as many as false identity and cultural problems hindering this very preventable process. To that extent, this brief article aims at improving the basis for a better understanding of possible synergies, at the cultural level, between the global process of cultural unification on the one hand and the Islamic revival on the other hand. This endeavor would rely on anthropological concepts formulated by Western thinkers (Hall, Vultur, Harvey, Giddens, Hannerz, Mattelard, Tomlinson, Morin…) as well as theological concepts mostly derived from Quran and widely accepted prophetic narrations concerning the very idea of universalism and globalization. This article would however merely deal with concrete steps to be taken in order to match what can be considered as two major cultural influences in process: cultural globalization and Islamic revival.

Regional Integration and Crises on the Persian Gulf Sub-region. Casus of Gulf Cooperation Council
Dr. Wojciech Jerzy Grabowski, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Institute (Asian and African States section) at Gdansk University. He is the author of the monograph “Muslim fundamentalism in the Middle East” and of many articles on various subject matters in the international relations field, especially regional, Middle Eastern order, role of Islam and fundamentalism in politics, influence of terrorism on the states functioning. He was involved in EU grants dedicated to these issues and NATO workshops dedicated perseverance of terrorism: focus on leaders. Currently, he is involved in exploring regionalization processes in the Persian Gulf sub-region. He is a member of the Polish Association of International Studies and European Institute of Security.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) helps to constitute boundaries of inclusion and exclusion that strengthen six states in the region, characterized by revisionist powers. By participants of the GCC it is viewed as an institution leading sub-region to the broader Arab unity. During the Gulf War 1990/91 participating states were not willing to resolve common, sub-regional problem, but they were looking for the help from non-Arab states. Processes of the regionalization help to generalize conditions or people within sub-regional boundaries speaking about Gulf policies, business, identity opposed to Arab spheres of activities. The GCC poses a forum of exchange of political views. But the GCC stands in front of challenges of the inclusion non-dynastic Yemen and post-Saddam Iraq which would have significant consequences for the security and economic fields of the sub-region. One of the problem of the organization is unfulfilled promises which damage credibility of the organization. This may poses real threat to the objectives of the GCC. The basic question I will try to find an answer to is: does the GCC guarantee security to its members in the broad sense or does the GCC member-states have to seek the security through bilateral agreements with external powers?

Overcoming the Crisis of Islam and Buddhism – Institutionalizing Peace Building for Regional Organizations
Amjad Saleem is currently working as Head of Communications for The Cordoba Foundation, an independent policy, research and public relations think tank based in London promoting intercultural dialogue, peace building and positive coexistence among communities by advocating  dialogue and promoting action to develop understanding and acceptance of inter-communal and inter-religious issues in particular improving the understanding between the Muslim World and the West and vice-versa.

Incidents in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, show an increasing tendency for a clash between proponents of Theravada Buddhism and Islam.   This religious  based ethnic  identity put forward by this particular strand of Buddhism poses a great threat not only to religious freedoms in the region of South and South East Asia but also to future security.  The intolerance of Buddhism has become in part due to a  more militant, violent and ultimately intolerant ideology. However,  it is also due as a response, according to Buddhists, to the increasing perceived conservatism of Muslims across the region as a result of global Islamic reawakening and reformation.  The accusation is that it is ‘the rise of Wahabi and Salafi movements’ that is affecting the relationships between the communities, but it is more deeper entrenched than that. This paper will argue about the need to incorporate  peacebuilding and conflict resolution  mechanisms within aspects of diplomacy so that regional organizations like the OIC and ASEAN can work at a more efficient level and ensure that the region of South and South East Asia are not affected.

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