Thursday, March 28, 2013

Panel 9/9: General/Case Studies between IR & Islam: Iranian’s Nuclear Issue, Islamic Norms, and Islamist Militancy

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 shows general and/or case studies between International Relations and Islam. 

Chair: Prof. Dr. Stefan Borg (Swedish Institute for International Affairs, Sweden)
Discussant: Prof. Dr. Raffaele Mauriello (Sapienza, University of Rome, Italy)

Paper Presenters:

A Constructivist Study on the Israeli-Iranian Nuclear Problem
Seyed Hossein Zarhani, M.A. (PhD Researcher, Department of Political Science, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University)

This study seeks to examine how constructivism can help to deep our understanding of the Israeli-Iranian conflict over Iran’s nuclear program. In doing so, the basic tenets of constructivism is unpacked to identify which aspects of the constructivist approach to seeing social reality as derived from the shared understandings of actors would be most suited to this particular case study. Focusing on the manner in which actors create and maintain identities, both for themselves and others, through language use in realm of discourse, the identities of Iran and the Israel is shown to be mutually constituted; that is, the identity of one was, in part (for given contexts), formed in relation to the identity of the other. The central question that this study seeks to answer is: how can the application of a social constructivist approach to the Israeli-Iranian conflict over Iran’s nuclear program enhance our understanding of the nature of this conflict? This study goes beyond Realism to explore the dynamics of the cultural and religious underpinnings of the “clash of narratives” that shape the dynamics of nuclear confrontation between Israel and Iran. This paper compares the ways in which Israelis and Iranians utilize sacred text, myths, tradition, national-religious historiography, and “selective memory” to construct and promote their identification with ancient cultures, traditions, and historic grievances. In addition, this study highlights the ways in which Israelis and Iranians use the negative stereotypes of one another especially in nuclear issues to brand and demonize the opponents. This study finally shows the constructivist approach to the Israeli-Iranian conflict over Iran’s nuclear program can expand our understanding of that encounter by underlining the ways in which actors and their representations of any given situation are constructed, rather than being objectively given.

Velayate-E Faqih and the Nuclear Issue
Dr. Rania Mohamed Taher Abdul-Wahab (Ain Shams University, Egypt)

There has been an increasing assertion of the velayat-e-faqih in Iranian politics in recent years. This has led to tensions between them and the presidential office in Iran. Against this backdrop, this article seeks to analyse the constitutional position of the velayat-e-faqih and how it has interacted with other institutions to shape Iranian foreign policy and taking a decisions in nuclear issue. The article critically analyses the relationship between the velayat-e-faqih and different popularly elected presidents. so this study will consists of the following:
first: historical background of Iranian nuclear program and its developments.
second:motivations that encourged iran to acquire nuclear program
third:the role of velayate-e faqih in building iranian nuclear program
fourth: International responses toward Iranian nuclear program

Islamic Norms and Values in International Relations
Dr. Lili Yulyadi Arnakim (Visiting Scholar, Centre for Policy Research and International Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia)

The relationship between Islam and the state has been extensively written on by many scholars. Islam as a comprehensive way of life has a worldview and a system in which religion and state is not separated. It believes that the public life, or the state, should embrace Islamic values. In international relations, Islam has its own norms and prescriptions for the relations between a Muslim country and other Muslim countries, and between a Muslim country and non-Muslim countries. Islam, which upholds values such as mutual sympathy, self-sufficiency, solidarity, mutual trust and help, and mutual advice and justice, does not conflict with universally-held values in the matter. Using the textual as well as contextual approaches on the understanding the norms and values of Islamic theory of International relations (siyar), this paper attempts to locate the significance of Islamic norms and values in the present global political system. It further examines the strategic roles of the Muslim countries in upholding the Islamic norms and values in the present global political challenges and to foresee the prospects of its values in establishing the future of the aspired global political system.

Deciphering Ideas on Islamist Militancy
Ridwan Landasan is currently a Master student in International Relations at Istanbul University.

Throughout history, Islam has been interpreted in various often discordant and conflicting ways. The debates over the question of authority and legitimacy to speak for and thus define Islam are particularly intense in contemporary times. As a result, confusion and perplexed comprehensions exist among Muslims and non-Muslims alike as to what ‘Islam’s position on a number of different issues such as human rights, democracy, international cooperation, and etc. One nature of this recent phenomenon is ‘Islamist Militancy’. There are various ideologies spurred the channels and apparatuses in describing, defining, delineating Islamist militancy with Islam. Islam is seen in differing prisms and schemata that resulted to incongruent perceptions among peoples with different cultural and upbringing backgrounds particularly the geographical imaginary division of the ‘West’ and ‘East’ set by traditional orientalist scholars. The West sees Islam as a religion similar with Christianity though not at the same level of respect they regard Christianity or Judaism. They perceives Islam as the Other, totally indifferent with their cultural understanding. While the East regards Islam, not only as a religion, but a total way of life that governs every aspects of human existence. However, it is the same perception that they consider Christianity and Judaism as also the Other.

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