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Sufism: A Theoretical Intervention in Global International Relations

Updated: Dec 10, 2023


EDITED BY DEEPSHIKHA SHAHI


In an effort to attain a ‘global’ character, the contemporary academic discipline of International Relations (IR) increasingly seeks to surpass its Eurocentric limits, thereby opening up pathways to incorporate non-Eurocentric worldviews. Lately, many of the non-Eurocentric worldviews have emerged which either engender a ‘derivative’ discourse of the same Eurocentric IR theories, or construct an ‘exceptionalist’ discourse which is particularly applicable to the narrow experiential realities of a native time-space zone: as such, they fall short of the ambition to produce a genuinely ‘non-derivative’ and ‘non-exceptionalist’ Global IR theory. Against this backdrop, Sufism: A Theoretical Intervention in Global International Relations performs a multidisciplinary research to explore how ‘Sufism’ – as an established non-Western philosophy with a remarkable temporal-spatial spread across the globe – facilitates a creative intervention in the theoretical understanding of Global IR.


Part II: Debating Sufi ‘Oneness of Reality’: Insights from the Non-Western Worlds


4. The Potentials of the Sufi Idea of ‘Oneness of Reality’ in Global IR, Fait Muedini



6. The Limits of the Sufi Idea of ‘Oneness of Reality’ in Global IR, Giuseppe Cecere


7. The Sufi Rhetoric in Contemporary Turkey: Find Peace in My Hegemony! Ayse Cavadar


8. ‘Textual-Contextual Tension’ in the Sufi Study of Global IR: Learning from Sudan, Meir Hatina


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Review – Sufism: A Theoretical Intervention in Global International Relations


Moving onto the country-specific chapters, Omar Imady’s chapter on Sufism in Syria provides an excellent grounding of what have been, until now, quite abstract ideas. Imady relates Sufi ideas to Islamist uprisings in Syria in the 80s and 90s, moving from the micro of Syria to the macro of Global IR. It is less a conversation about IR as a discipline, and more an exploration of the intersection (and limits) of thought and practice. In the Syrian case, the chapter argues that Sufism’s ability to breakdown “identitarian gaps” (p.95) through the concept of oneness, had been a contributing factor to Grand Mufti Kaftaru’s conflict resolution efforts in the time period studied.



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