Vol. 29 (2009)

Transnational Radical Islamism

Published 2009-04-01

How to Cite

Anderson, P. (2009). Transnational Radical Islamism. Journal of Conflict Studies, 29. Retrieved from https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/JCS/article/view/15230


This article examines the al-Qaeda movement in terms of the categories of “global” and “local.” Both descriptions are relevant. Structurally, the label al-Qaeda is used to describe many things: the original al-Qaeda-central organization; locally-based affiliated groups who operate under its banner; and a global social movement of sympathizers and participants connected via the internet. Ideologically, the emergence of jihadist doctrine has taken place against the backdrop of social change on a global scale and can be convincingly analyzed as a direct symptom of modernity and globalization. The roots and aims of the movement are, however, local. They pertain to specific societies and emerge from widely-felt grievances against the state system and the ruling elites of the Arab world. As such, the al-Qaeda movement is best viewed as a global expression of local grievances: a new “global” strategy in the service of local goals centered on the states of the Middle East.