Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. J. Kevin Corder


In post Cold War politics, as a powerful alternative to the authoritarian "status-quo" regimes of the Muslim World, Islamism has become among the most critical political issues as various Islamist movements increasingly challenge governments for more political reforms, democratization, and greater participation and in the political process.

The current debates on Islamism, though useful, often emphasize the issues of security, democracy, or stability. However, they seem to overlook the importance of processes and the mechanisms of Islamism as well as how Islamists' concerns for preserving their Islamic social identity (Muslimness) and government control over religion contribute to their politicization. Thus, this study seeks to understand the increasing political role of Islamism in Turkey and Egypt through interview data and content analysis by exploring how Islamists challenge government control over religion, and respond to perceived external threats to their Islamic social identity.

This study also links Islamist political activism to Islamist frames which Islamists have been vigorously using to interpret social, economic, and political grievances; propose solutions for them; and motivate masses for further political action. This study also examines the comprehensiveness of Islamism in both countries by employing the Gramscian concept of "counter-hegemonic war of position" in addition to discussing topics such as how conflictive or cooperative patterns of Islamism alternate based on changing opportunity structures under authoritarian settings, and what motivates prospective movement participants to get involved in high-risk Islamist activism.

Being a cross-national/cultural comparative study, this dissertation fills a significant gap in the literature due to lack of such comparative studies. In addition, by studying Islamism through Gramscian and social movement theories, this study is a major contribution to the literature on social movement studies in non-Western contexts.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access