Sectarianism and Recognition in Iraq

From Consociationalism to Deliberation?

in Democratic Theory
View More View Less
  • 1 Australian Catholic University nic.pirsoul@gmail.com
Restricted access

Abstract

This article uses the theory of recognition to analyze sectarian conflicts in Iraq. After describing the sectarian and historical background of contemporary Iraqi politics, the article critiques the implementation of consociationalism and policies influenced by liberal multiculturalism in deeply divided societies. It argues that these policies lead to a dangerous reification of identities. The article argues that a progressive implementation of deliberative democracy practices could improve identity-related issues in Iraq and explains how democratic practices are legitimized by the most influential Islamic religious figure in Iraq.

Contributor Notes

Dr Nicolas Pirsoul is a sessional lecturer at the Australian Catholic University. His research interests include the fields of multicultural politics, deliberative democracy, political Islam, Middle Eastern politics, and indigenous politics. E-mail: nic.pirsoul@gmail.com

Democratic Theory

An Interdisciplinary Journal

  • Al-Rahim, Ahmed H. 2005. “The Sistani Factor.” Journal of Democracy 16 (3): 5053.

  • Ali Ibn Abi Talib. 2009. Nahjul-Balagha: Peak of Eloquence. New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an.

  • Anderson, Liam D. 2004. The Future of Iraq: Dictatorship, Democracy, or Division? New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Barry, Brian. 2001. Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Brown, Wendy. 1995. States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Canivez, Patrice. 2011. “Pathologies of Recognition.” Philosophy & Social Criticism 37 (8): 851887.

  • Corbin, Henry. 1964. Histoire de la philosophie islamique (History of Islamic Philosophy). Paris: Gallimard.

  • Deranty, Jean-Philippe. 2016. “Between Honneth and Rancière: Problems and Potentials of a Contemporary Critical Theory of Society.” In Recognition or Disagreement: A Critical Encounter on the Politics of Freedom, Equality and Identity, ed. Katia Genel and Jean-Philippe Deranty (3380). New York: Columbia University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dryzek, John S. 2006. Deliberative Global Politics: Discourse and Democracy in a Divided World. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • Esfandiary, Dina, and Ariane Tabatabai. 2015. “Iran's ISIS Policy.” International Affairs 91 (1): 115. doi:10.1111/1468-2346.12183.

  • Euben, Roxanne Leslie, and Muhammad Qasim Zaman. 2009. Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought: Texts and Contexts from al-Banna to Bin Laden. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fishkin, James. 2009. When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Ford, Richard. 2002. “Beyond ‘Difference’: A Reluctant Critique of Legal Identity Politics.” In Left Legalism/Left Critique, ed. Wendy Brown and Janet E. Halley (3879). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Forst, Rainer. 2007. “First Things First: Redistribution, Recognition and Justification.” European Journal of Political Theory 6 (3): 291304.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fraser, Nancy. 2000. “Rethinking Recognition.” New Left Review 3: 107120.

  • Gutmann, Amy, and Dennis Thompson. 2000. “Why Deliberative Democracy is Different.” Social Philosophy and Policy 17 (1):161180.

  • He, Baogang. 2014. “Deliberative Culture and Politics: The Persistence of Authoritarian Deliberation in China.” Political Theory 42 (1) (5881).

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Honneth, Axel. 1996. The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts. Cambridge: MIT Press.

  • Honneth, Axel. 2003. “Redistribution as Recognition.” In Redistribution or Recognition? A Political-Philosophical Exchange. London: Verso.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Horowitz, Donald L. 2003. “Electoral Systems: A Primer for Decision Makers.” Journal of Democracy 14 (4): 115127.

  • Kadivar, Mohsen. 2009. “Human Rights and Intellectual Islam.” In New directions in Islamic Thought: Exploring Reform and Muslim Tradition, ed. Lena Larsen, Christian Moe, and Kari Vogt (4773). London: I. B. Tauris.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kadivar, Mohsen. 2011. “From Traditional Islam to Islam as an End in Itself.” Die Welt des Islams 51 (3–4): 459484.

  • Kedourie, Elie. 1988. “Anti-Shiism in Iraq under the Monarchy.” Middle Eastern Studies 24 (2): 249253.

  • Khoei, Hayder. 2014. “The Quiet Ayatollah of Peace.” The World Today 70 (5): 3840.

  • Kymlicka, Will. 2000. Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Kymlicka, Will, and Eva Pföstl, eds. 2014. Multiculturalism and Minority Rights in the Arab World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lewental, D. Gershon. 2014. “‘Saddam's Qadisiyyah’: Religion and History in the Service of State Ideology in Baʿthi Iraq.” Middle Eastern Studies 50 (6): 891910. doi:10.1080/00263206.2013.870899.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lijphart, Arend. 1977. Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

  • Mansbridge, Jane. 1999. “Everyday Talk in the Deliberative System.” In Deliberative Politics: Essays on Democracy and Disagreement, ed. Stephen Macedo (211239). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mansbridge, Jane, James Bohman, Simone Chambers, Thomas Christiano, Archon Fung, John Parkinson, Dennis Thompson, and Mark Warren. 2012. “A Systemic Approach to Deliberative Democracy.” In Deliberative Systems: Deliberative Democracy at the Large Scale, ed. John Parkinson and Jane J. Mansbridge (126). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • March, Andrew F. 2007. “Reading Tariq Ramadan: Political Liberalism, Islam, and ‘Overlapping Consensus’.” Ethics & International Affairs 21 (4): 399413. doi:10.1111/j.1747-7093.2007.00114.x.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • March, Andrew F. 2009. Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Matthiesen, Toby. 2013. Sectarian Gulf Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Spring that Wasn't. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

  • Mavani, Hamid. 2013. Religious Authority and Political Thought in Twelver Shi'ism: From Ali to Post-Khomeini. New York: Routledge.

  • McBride, Cillian. 2005. “Deliberative Democracy and the Politics of Recognition.” Political Studies 53 (3): 497515.

  • Menashri, David. 1980. “Shi'ite Leadership: in the Shadow of Conflicting Ideologies.” Iranian Studies 13 (1-4):119145

  • Mora, Mariana. 2007. “Zapatista Anticapitalist Politics and the ‘Other Campaign’: Learning from the Struggle for Indigenous Rights and Autonomy.” Latin American Perspectives 34 (2): 6477.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nakash, Yitzhak. 2003a. “The Shi'ites and the Future of Iraq.” Foreign Affairs 82 (4): 1726.

  • Nakash, Yitzhak. 2003b. “The Struggle for Power in Iraq.” Dissent 50 (3): 4747.

  • Nasr, Vali. 2006. “When the Shiites Rise.” Foreign Affairs 85 (4): 5871.

  • Nasr, Vali. 2007. The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future. New York: Norton.

  • Parekh, Bhikhu. 2006. Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Pirsoul, Nicolas. 2017. “Reason, Deliberation, and Democracy in Divided Societies: Perspectives from the Jafari School of Thought.” Journal of Public Deliberation 13 (1) (115).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rahimi, Babak. 2007. Special Report: Ayatollah Sistani and the Democratization of Post- Ba'athist Iraq. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rahimi, Babak. 2012. “Democratic authority, Public Islam, and Shi'i Jurisprudence in Iran and Iraq: Hussain Ali Montazeri and Ali Sistani.” International Political Science Review 33 (2):193208.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Renault, Emmanuel. 2004. Mépris social: éthique et politique de la reconnaissance. Bègles: Editions du Passant.

  • Renault, Emmanuel. 2007. “What Is the Use of the Notion of the Struggle of Recognition?Revista de Ciencia Política 27 (2): 195205.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Renault, Emmanuel. 2009. “Reconaissance, lutte, domination: le modèle hégélien (Recognition. Struggle, domination: the Hegelian model).” Politique et Sociétés 28 (3): 2243.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sass, Jensen, and John S. Dryzek. 2014. “Deliberative Cultures.” Political Theory 42 (1): 325.

  • Shanahan, Rodger. 2004. “Shia Political Development in Iraq: The Case of the Islamic Dawa Party.” Third World Quarterly 25 (5): 943954. doi:10.1080/0143659042000232045.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, Charles. 1994. “The Politics of Recognition.” In Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, ed. Amy Gutmann and Charles Taylor, 2573. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, Charles. 1998. “The Dynamics of Democratic Exclusion.” Journal of Democracy 9 (4) (143156).

  • Tripp, Charles. 2007. A History of Iraq. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Tully, James. 2000. “Struggles over Recognition and Distribution.” Constellations 7 (4): 469482. doi:10.1111/1467-8675.00203.

  • Tully, James. 2004. “Recognition and Dialogue: The Emergence of a New Field.” Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 7 (3): 84106.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Visser, Reidar. 2006. Sistani, the United States and Politics in Iraq: From Quietism to Machiavellianism? Oslo: Norsk Utenriskespolitiks Institutt.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Visser, Reidar. 2007a. “Ethnicity, Federalism and the Idea of Sectarian Citizenship in Iraq: A Critique.” International Review of the Red Cross 89 (868): 809822. doi:10.1017/S1816383108000088.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Visser, Reidar. 2007b. “The Western Imposition of Sectarianism on Iraqi Politics.” The Arab Studies Journal 15/16 (2/1): 8399.

  • Young, Iris Marion. 2011. Justice and the Politics of Difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Younis, Nussaibah. 2011. “Set Up to Fail: Consociational Political Structures in Post War Iraq, 2003–2010.” Contemporary Arab Affairs 4 (1): 118.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zurn, Christopher F. 2005. “Recognition, Redistribution, and Democracy: Dilemmas of Honneth's Critical Social Theory.” European Journal of Philosophy 13 (1): 89126.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics