Throughout the Arab world, Islamist political movements are
joining the electoral process. This change alarms some observers
and excites other. In recent years, electoral opportunities have
opened, and Islamist movements have seized them. But those
opportunities, while real, have also been sharply circumscribed.
Elections may be freer, but they are not fair. The opposition can
run but it generally cannot win. Semiauthoritarian conditions
prevail in much of the Arab world, even in the wake of the Arab
Spring. How do Islamist movements change when they plunge into
freer but unfair elections? How do their organizations (such as the
Muslim Brotherhood) and structures evolve? What happens to their
core ideological principles? And how might their increased
involvement affect the political system?
In When Victory Is Not an Option, Nathan J. Brown
addresses these questions by focusing on Islamist movements in
Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and Palestine. He shows that uncertain
benefits lead to uncertain changes. Islamists do adapt their
organizations and their ideologies do bend-some. But leaders almost
always preserve a line of retreat in case the political opening
fizzles or fails to deliver what they wish. The result is a
cat-and-mouse game between dominant regimes and wily movements.
There are possibilities for more significant changes, but to date
they remain only possibilities.
Subjects: Political Science
Table of Contents
You are viewing the table of contents
You do not have access to this
on JSTOR. Try logging in through your institution for access.