Jihadism in Africa

Authored by: Alexander Thurston

Routledge Handbook of Islam in Africa

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367144234
eBook ISBN: 9780367144241
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter surveys jihadist movements in Africa and examines the literature on that topic. The chapter first discusses the trends among jihadist movements on the continent, including their affiliations to global jihadist brands, their involvement in wars of attrition and the construction of “proto-states”, their tendency to suffer internal dissension, and their uneasy relationship with questions of ethnic identity. The chapter then assesses the strengths and weaknesses of dominant analytical approaches to the study of jihadism in Africa, including “terrorism studies” paradigms, area studies, and comparative political science. The chapter closes by sketching out areas in need of further research, such as jihadist-state relations beyond violence, and the role of women and gender in African jihadism.

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