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Collective Action in the Middle East: A Cross-National Survey of People’s Values and Political Engagement
This project will identify the social, cultural, perceptual, and demographic factors that influence people’s political engagement and participation in protest movements, carrying out full-scale national surveys in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. Previous surveys carried out by the PI in the Middle East included questions on political behavior and other items related to different aspects of mass level belief systems and cultural and sociopolitical attitudes. The present project builds on previous work to examine the range of respondents’ levels of political engagement, from those involving no or minimal cost to those that are risky. The resulting new information will provide unique insights into the growing political and social movements occurring throughout the Middle East. In addition, the information gathered during the life of this project will enhance our understanding of an extensive body of research on cross-national values conducted across the region. Whether evaluated singularly or in conjunction with the existing survey data, the knowledge gained from this project will provide a comprehensive examination of collective action, group relations, religious fundamentalism, identity, framing, and attitudes toward Western values across the region.
Comparative Study of Ideological Production in the Islamic World
This project addresses the determinants of ideological production, focusing on three major cultural movements in the Islamic world: Islamic modernism in India, Egypt, and Iran between the second half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth; liberal nationalism in Egypt, and Constitutionalism and anti-clerical secularism in Iran, and Arabism and Arab nationalism in Syria in the first half of the twentieth century; and Islamic fundamentalism in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, and Syria in the second half of the twentieth century. These diverse cultural episodes are analyzed in terms of the nature of the intellectual environment and the role of the state in this environment within the broader context of social transformation and systematic cultural encounter between the West and the Islamic world that started in the early nineteenth century.
Comparative Study of Religious Fundamentalism, Developmental Idealism, Values and Value Change in the Middle East
This project intends to analyze the social, cultural, and perceptual factors that influence the layer of the population that is sympathetic to Islamic fundamentalism, the layer that is oriented toward moderate and secular politics, and the layer that falls in between. It will focus on Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, and Syria—the major areas of concern for U.S. national security to (1) inspect the extent of the penetration of Western values in these countries and assess how this penetration is related to the nature of these countries’ relationships with the West; (2) explain cross-national variations and trends in values; (3) construct attitudinal conceptions of fundamentalism and explain variations in such attitudes cross-nationally; (4) construct a series of indicators that are useful in predicting trends in values among the Islamic publics; and (5) assess the implications of this seven-country study for peace and. security. Building upon a foundation of extensive previous values surveys in several Middle Eastern countries, the research team for this proposed project will carry out additional comparable values surveys in the seven countries and analyze the findings during 2010-2012.
Comparative Values Surveys of Islamic Countries
Although the focus here is on the people and culture of the Middle Eastern publics, given that an overwhelming majority of these publics are Muslims, for scholars interested in comparative study of Muslim majority countries, we have produced a dataset on values and beliefs in Islamic countries and the United States. The data set from the U.S. is added for those interested in understanding the convergence and divergence of values between the American public and people from Muslim majority countries.
Religious Fundamentalism, Attitudes toward Political Violence, and Developmental Idealism among Youth in Egypt and Saudi Arabia - 2005
This project focuses on the values and sociopolitical and cultural attitudes of young Egyptians and Saudis. The survey instrument includes constructs in four general areas of values: (1) the sources of epistemic authorities that the youths rely in forming opinion about various social and cultural issues and deciding their career; (2) the extent to which the youth are aware of developmental ideas; (3) the youths’ orientations toward such issues as relationship between religion and politics, form of government, Western culture, and social status of women; and (4) the youths’ religiosity and attitudes toward religion.
The Birth Place of the Arab Spring: Value Orientations and Political Actions in Tunisia
This project’s central objective is to construct and deliver a methodology for detecting and quantifying the presence of violent extremist ideology among youth. To this end, it engages in a comprehensive study of sociopolitical and cultural beliefs and attitudes, value orientations, and political engagement among youth and the general public in Tunisia. To this end, a values survey is currently being conducted with 3,000 Tunisians chosen in a national probability sample, meaning that the results can be generalized to the entire country. Analyses will begin in the summer of 2013, and will, among other inquiries: 1) assess the social conditions that may prompt Tunisians: (a) to support religious extremism and political violence; (b) to adopt religious fundamentalist beliefs and attitudes; and (c) to develop favorable attitudes toward the liberal values of political equality, social individualism, and national identity; 2) evaluate the extent to which Tunisians’ attitudes and value orientations are shaped by: (a) levels of trust in government, religious institutions, and members of ethnic or religious groups other than their own; (b) perceptions of corruption among public officials; and (c) perceptions of one’s political efficacy, on the one hand, and dysphoric emotions on the other; and 3) assess the implications of findings from this study for national security and for building a better relationship between the American and Tunisian public.