and they’re called theorists. That’s right, I would just love to grab a few by the collars and say, “Damnit man! Why must you make all of our lives so difficult?! The empirical phenomena can’t possibly be that difficult to describe or explain! Ack!!!”
***I say this as I proceed to pull my hair out and pound my head against the library’s ill-colored and ill-decorated walls****
So I started this exercise with trying to comprehend existing debates concerning Islamist movements and got sucked into a vortex black hole of sorts filled with infinite intellectual puzzles (that are quite mind blowing I daresay) and discovered there is no end in sight. It is like playing a chess game (in this case, against myself) and thinking hah! I am only 3 steps away from checkmate…then you discover no, you are 6 steps away and only from check, not checkmate, and by the way, it isn’t 6 steps, it’s 6 with 5 substrategies and points to consider.
After 48 hours in the library this weekend, I have concluded the following:
There is no light at the end of the tunnel concerning literature on Islamist movements–either scholars address it as a problem with terrorism (even though not all Islamists are terrorists), a problem with conceptual definitions (how the hell do we define who is an Islamist and who isn’t), level of analysis problem (how we analyze them at either a global level or a regional level), a problem with rational strategy, a problem with identity, a problem with such movements challenging sovereignty and international norms, etc. etc. etc.etc. etc.
Dear God almighty folks, do you want to know what the REAL problem is? Theorists in different subfields are not talking to each other within one friggin discipline or across disciplines! That’s the problem!
And don’t get me started on individuals who hold paradigmatic irreconcilable philosophical worldviews because that is a whole other empty vacuum in space–and it sucks naive people like myself into its infinite theoretical depths of ill-conceived concepts and terms.
Can’t the IR theorists, Middle Eastern regional specialists, and social movement theorists hold a greater intellectual dialogue instead of talking past one another? That’s all I want–I want to see a new group try and bridge those gaps in the literature and devise creative and innovative ways to address social movements at a transnational level who politically mobilize populations in a variety of fashions.
Sure, it is a very tough task (to say the least) and begs many questions–but geez people, why have those gaps not been explored to the extent they can be?
*Sigh* I think I will stop turning my personal statement into a lit review and write it with existing knowledge, try to address those gaps as best as possible, and wowzas, if it needs more research, I will resume it by all means. For now, I think my head is going to friggin explode if I don’t compile my thoughts in a cohesive written manner.
P.S. I don’t want to shake theorists, but would like to politely and kindly ask them to step out of their restricted intellectually boxed debates now and then to look at……..other restricted intellectually boxed debates.