Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2005 Volume 1 :: Article 3
2005 Volume 1, Article 3
Niches in the Islamic Religious Market and Fundamentalism: Examples from Turkey and Other Countries

Author: Massimo Introvigne (CESNUR, Torino, Italy)

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ABSTRACT

The article applies the theory of religious niches to the intra-Islamic religious markets, with a special focus on Turkey. In normal conditions, these niches conform to general principles of religious economy. The ultrastrict and strict niches are smaller than the “central” moderate and conservative niches. Distortions in religious economies occur in what the article calls “religious war economies” (i.e., military conflicts perceived as religious) and “economies of war against religion” (i.e., governmental intervention against all organized religious groups). In the first case (e.g., Palestine, Iraq), there is in fact a war-caused modification of religious demand, with an expanded demand for ultrastrict religion. In the second case (e.g., Algeria, Turkey before 2002), the state effectively prevents moderate and conservative religious supply to meet the demand, with the unintended effect that in part this demand is captured by the ultrastrict groups, which are much more accustomed to operating illegally or against state pressure. Data about Turkey after the 2002 and 2004 elections confirm that when conservative and moderate religious supply is free to operate, ultrastrict alternatives enjoy only limited success.

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