Journal Article

Islam and the New Political Landscape. Faith Communities, Political Participation and Social Change

Published 1 January 2009 / By Michael Keith, Les Back, Azra Khan, Kalbir Shukra, John Solomos

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Introduction

In this article we consider the forms of democratic participation that revolve around issues of religious faith and Islam. The context of such work is one in which a concern with the levels of participation in the political institutions of Western Europe and North America feature prominently in both journalistic and academic debate. The article speaks to debates that are concerned with the efficacy of specific forms of participation. In doing so we argue that we need to think carefully about the forms of social action that constitute participation in the democratic process. We also need to think precisely about definitions of the political with which people engage. If we take the political as a domain in which the ethical settlement of society is contestable, the sorts of mobilization around faith communities that this article describes are clearly a form of political participation. Yet the article argues that the reasons many become involved in these forms of social organization in contemporary East London is precisely because they are seen as less complicit with mainstream political institutions of the British state.

Keith, M., Back, L., Khan, A., Shukra, K. and Solomos, J. (2009) 'Islam and the New Political Landscape. Faith Communities, Political Participation and Social Change', Theory, Culture and Society, 26(4): 1-23