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The Construction of Islamic Identity in Everyday Life:
The Case of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

IBRAHIM, KHALIL,MOHAMED (2013) The Construction of Islamic Identity in Everyday Life:
The Case of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis explores the formation of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) identity in everyday life. It accounts for unpacking the underlying processes and factors that shape the identity of the MB’s members. It thus examines the MB’s recruitment and mobilization mechanisms, meaning and symbolic productions, social networking, and the resilience of the MB identity.
This study attempts to answer a key question: how does the MB construct its identity in everyday life? It investigates the identification and socialization process that happens within the MB. The study reveals that ikhwanism, a sub-culture that encompasses and guides the MB leaders and members in everyday life, plays a pivotal role in preserving the MB’s identity. Ikhwanism denotes the cognitive system of norms, values, standards, and symbols that informs and guides the MB’s members in everyday life. Thus, to be an ikhwani does not only mean to embrace the MB’s ideology and worldview but also to act as a committed and obedient member in everyday life. Therefore, the study investigates the tools and mechanisms that are utilized by the MB in order to forge and reshape members’ perceptions and behaviour.
In addition, the thesis explores the effects of the semi-authoritarian policies on the MB’s identity and coherence. It examines how the MB survived under the autocratic regime of Hosni Mubarak despite the relentless waves of repression and exclusion. The findings of the study reveal the ability of the MB to operate under regime repression and to sustain its coherence and identity. Primary data was collected through interviews with several members and leaders in the MB. The data reflects the complexity of the MB as a social organization. It demonstrates that the MB could blend the ideational and institutional factors in order to articulate and preserve its identity. Moreover, the findings of the study reveal the power struggle within the MB between the so-called conservatives and reformists. The study demonstrates that regime repression enabled the conservatives to control the MB at the expense of the reformists. It predicts that the former will likely control the MB for years to come.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Egypt, Identity, Muslim Brotherhood
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 May 2013 09:38

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