Islam and Politics in the Middle East

Islam and Politics in the Middle East

Explaining the Views of Ordinary Citizens
Mark Tessler
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 06/22/2015
Format: Hardback 62 tables
ISBN: 978-0-253-01643-0
Bookmark and Share

Other formats available:

Buy from Amazon


Some of the most pressing questions in the Middle East and North Africa today revolve around the proper place of Islamic institutions and authorities in governance and political affairs. Drawing on data from 42 surveys carried out in fifteen countries between 1988 and 2011, representing the opinions of more than 60,000 men and women, this study investigates the reasons that some individuals support a central role for Islam in government while others favor a separation of religion and politics. Utilizing his newly constructed Carnegie Middle East Governance and Islam Dataset, which has been placed in the public domain for use by other researchers, Mark Tessler formulates and tests hypotheses about the views held by ordinary citizens, offering insights into the individual and country-level factors that shape attitudes toward political Islam.

Author Bio

Mark Tessler is Samuel J. Eldersveld Collegiate Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan. He is author of Public Opinion in the Middle East: Survey Research and the Political Orientations of Ordinary Citizens (IUP, 2011), A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Second Edition (IUP, 2009), and editor (with Jodi Nachtwey and Anne Banda) of Area Studies and Social Science: Strategies for Understanding Middle East Politics (IUP, 1999).


“Mark Tessler has been a leading contributor to our understanding of the Middle East and North Africa for decades. In Islam and Politics in the Middle East, he does it again by providing sophisticated analysis of 42 surveys of public opinion in the region, discerning the views ordinary men and women hold of Islam and politics. It’s a masterful and compelling work.”
 — Shibley Telhami, author of The World Through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East

“Islam and Politics in the Middle East is a solid and excellent empirical exploration of the factors underlying support for political Islam in the Arab world. Tessler nuances our understanding of Islam by breaking it down into values, practices, and political orientations. He pays attention to cross-country variation and structural influences on the role of Islam in everyday politics. This is a careful book that not only contributes to our overall theorizing and empirical understanding of political Islam, but corrects the dominant and misleading conventional wisdom about the monolithic nature of ‘everything Islam.’ Tessler brings to this project decades of expertise on this topic, a wealth of empirical data, and deep-seated understanding of the politics underlying Islam in the Arab world. ”
 — Amaney A. Jamal, Princeton University

“Although the book does not change the state of our knowledge of the trends in opinion among Muslims on social and political issues, it is still different from surveys conducted by think thanks and institutes in that it provides a great deal of nuance, explanation and caution in reading the findings.”
 — Journal of Islamic Studies

“Tessler (Univ. of Michigan) analyzes the Carnegie data set surveys conducted in 15 Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa from 1988 to 2011. . . Recommended. ”
 — Choice

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

A Note on the Carnegie Middle East Governance and Islam Dataset

Introduction: The Decline and Resurgence of Islam in the Twentieth Century
1. A Two-Level Study of Attitudes Toward Political Islam: Data and Methods
2. Islam in the Lives of Ordinary Muslims
3. Why Individuals Hold Different Views about Islam’s Political Role
4. How and Why Explanations Vary across Countries
Conclusion: What We Know and What Comes Next


Related Titles