A Fundamental Fear

Eurocentrism and the Emergence of Islamism

S. Sayyid
With a Foreword by Hamid Dabashi


In this provocative book S. Sayyid analyses of the conditions that have made Islamic fundamentalism possible.
The fear and anxiety aroused by Islamism is not a myth, nor is it simply a consequence of terrorism or fundamentalism.

Writing in 1997, before 9/11 and before the austerity that has bred a new generation of far right groups across Europe and the US, S. Sayyid warned of a spectre haunting Western civilization. This groundbreaking book, banned by the Malaysian government, is both an analysis of the conditions that have made ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ possible and a provocative account of the ways in which Muslim identities have come to play an increasingly political role throughout the world.

This is a pioneering, provocative and intricately crafted study, which shows the challenge of Islamism is not only geopolitical or even cultural but also epistemological.

Author Bio

S. Sayyid is a reader in rhetoric at the University of Leeds. He is the founding editor of ReOrient: The Journal of Critical Muslim Studies. His publications include Recalling the Caliphate and the volume (co-edited with AbdoolKarim Vakil) Thinking through Islamophobia.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Hamid Dabashi
  • Preface to the Critique Influence Change Edition
  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface to the Second Edition
  • Prologue: The Return of the Repressed
  • 1. Framing Fundamentalism
  • 2. Thinking Islamism, (Re)thinking Islamism
  • 3. Kemalism and Politicization of Islam
  • 4. Islam, Modernity and the West
  • 5. Islamism and the Limits of the Invisible Empire
  • Epiloque: Islamism/Eurocentrism
  • Bibliography
  • Index


'Sayyid's book has considerable intellectual and personal drive, showing how the adoption of a poststructuralist perspective can alter our perception of important matters of cultural politics.'
Nations and Nationalism

'Theoretically sophisticated.'
Global Society

'Of great interest to those who wish to look at the phenomenon of political Islam from a more sophisticated and theoretical angle... a worthy contribution.'
Impact International

'Sayyid, with this dense and seminal work, has made a welcome attempt to reframe the uses of the term Islam within intellectual discourses without resort to populist terminology. Not only is [Sayyid] polemical, incisive and engaging, he is at times poetical.'

'If we were to take up the suggestion of Norberto Bobbio that classics are those works able to speak to us in any time and any space, then this book should almost certainly be included in a list of contemporary classics.'
Contemporary South Asia


Publication Date: 12 February 2015
224 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback 3rd Edition: 9781783601912
eBook ePub 3rd Edition: 9781783601936
eBook PDF 3rd Edition: 9781783601929
eBook Kindle 3rd Edition: 9781783601943
Library Edition 2nd Edition: 9781842771969

Previous Editions: Paperback 2nd Edition: 9781842771976
Paperback 1st Edition: 9781856494120
Library Edition 1st Edition: 9781856494113

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