Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199212705

Malise Ruthven
176 ページ
110 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions



  • An up-to-date analysis: exposing the real nature of fundamentalism right up to and beyond the London bombings of the 7th July 2005
  • Charts the development of fundamentalist movements from 1920s America to today's terrorist threats
  • Investigates the many different forms of fundamentalist belief, both religious and secular, and the political and terrorist activities that often result
  • Takes a critical view of the burgeoning literature on modern religious fundamentalism
  • Malise Ruthven is a leading commentator on Islam
  • Uses a broad range of examples: USA, Middle East, Ireland, SE Asia, Africa, Germany

Malise Ruthven tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this complex phenomenon - one that eludes sim today, a conclusion impossible to ignore since the events in New York on September 11 2001. But what does 'fundamentalism' really mean? 
Since it was coined by American Protestant evangelicals in the 1920s, the use of the term 'fundamentalist' has expanded to include a diverse range of radical conservatives and ideological purists, not all religious. Fundamentalism could now mean both militant Israeli settlers as well as the Islamist radicals who oppose them, it can mean Christians, Hindus, animal liberationists, and even Buddhist nationalists. Ruthven investigates fundamentalism's historical, social, religious, political, and ideological roots, and tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this complex phenomenon - one that eludes simple definition, yet urgently needs to be understood. 


1: Family Resemblances
2: The Scandal of Difference
3: The Snares of Literalism
4: Controlling Women
5: Fundamentalism and Nationalism I
6: Fundamentalism and Nationalism II
7: Conclusion
Further reading


Malise Ruthven is a freelance writer and journalist, and visiting professor at the University of California, San Diego. A former scriptwriter with the BBC Arabic and World Services, he holds an MA in English Literature and a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University. He is renowned as a commentator on Islam and the Arabic world.

Stimulating. - Roger Hardy, New Statesman

Review from previous edition 'Ruthven's careful analysis of the phenomena ... provides a much-needed mental map [from] one of today's most perceptive observers and historians of religion.' - Guardian

'...powerful stuff ... this book is perceptive and important.' - Observer

This is a gentle, civilised book, written with some style. I enjoyed reading it. - Sasthi Brata, Spectator 10/04/2004

The first clear definition of this indispensable yet misused term. - Anoush Ehteshami, University of Durham

... an important contribution to the current political and cultural debates about Islam and the West, religious extremism, and the changing identity of supposedly secular societies. - R. Scott Appleby, University of Notre Dame