Reductionist thinking and "Islamic" violence
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
v, 75 pages
ProgramTowson University. Social Sciences Program
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Reductionist thinking explains a phenomenon, such as violence in Muslim states, with one cause. Reductionist thinking may erroneously reduce violence in the Muslim world to poverty or Islamic theology. Stathis Kalyvas distinguishes between master cleavages and local cleavages in a civil conflict. I examine civil conflicts in two Islamic states, Algeria and Afghanistan. Applying two theories of "Islamic" violence I demonstrate how they do not account for local conflicts. I will conclude with non-Muslim cases from El Salvador and Argentina to show how reductionist thinking escalated violence. Local conflicts are not synonymous with the master cleavage. Local conflicts in El Salvador were not related to communism, the master cleavage. In the Muslim world, the local cleavages are not Islamic theology or poverty but often revenge or greed. Policy recommendations must address the roots of the violence and therefore must understand the local conflicts and avoid reductionist thinking.