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Synopsis

Contrary to the expectations of the secularization theorists, religious political movements rose to prominence in numerous countries across the globe in the past three decades. By examining the conditions that underlie the electoral fortunes of religious actors in democratic regimes, this book contributes to our understanding of this worldwide religious resurgence.

Employing a social movement theory framework, Mobilizing Religion in Middle East Politics explores the macro and micro dynamics of successful political mobilization by Sephardic Torah Guardians (Shas) in Israel and the National Outlook Movement in Turkey in the recent decades. In a comparative framework, the book demonstrates how ripe political opportunities, appropriate frames and dense social networks contribute to building popular support in Israel and Turkey. Yusuf Sarfati also assesses the effects of the increasing political power of religious actors on democratic governance and illustrates similarities and differences between two countries.

Drawing on empirical data from a range of interviews conducted in both Israel and Turkey, this book provides a comparative study of religious politics in two countries that are often thought of as ‘exceptional cases,’ and are rarely compared. As such, this book is a welcome contribution for those studying Middle East politics, comparative politics, religious politics, democratization and social movements.

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