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What role does modernity (i.e. globalization, democracy, etc.) play in shaping...

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timcap | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted March 10, 2012 at 8:13 AM via web

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What role does modernity (i.e. globalization, democracy, etc.) play in shaping terrorist ideologies?

In the response, could you possibly mention the problems that arise between materialistic cultures and terrorist viewpoints in relation to modernity (i.e. globalization, democracy, individualism, secularism, etc.?)

For example, how woman are portrayed, or rather dressed in the U.S. is fundamentally different from how they are dressed in the Middle East.

Aspects of freedom also differ, along with issues concerning the separation of church and state.

So, basically, what implications/ problems arise between "our" culture and "their" culture that play an important role in shaping terrorist ideologies to initiate widespread terrorism?

I think you get the drift....

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 10, 2012 at 8:30 AM (Answer #1)

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I am not at all sure that I agree with the premise of this question, which is that modernity is what Islamist terrorists hate.  If it were, then surely Turkey, with its relatively democratic, materialistic, and secular culture would be seen as a worthy target for terrorists.

However, if this is what you have to argue, one way that you can argue it is that modernity undermines the traditional authority figures of a society.  It undermines, in particular, religious authority.  We have seen this in the West in such things as the anticlerical features of the French Revolution.  Modernity promotes the questioning of old values and, often, it promotes discarding them in favor of newer values.

In light of this, we could argue that those who are most invested in the old values would feel extremely threatened by the globalization of a culture that rejects tradition in favor of modernity.  They might feel that such a culture will erode the power they hold in their societies.  They might also feel threatened by the fact that modernity threatens the security and stability of doing things in the ways that they always have been done.

In this way, we can argue, terrorism arises among the most conservative and traditional Islamists as a response to the rising secular, global culture.

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