Al-Ta'ifa, Al-Ta'ifiya wal Tawa'if Al-Motakhayala (Sect, Sectarianism and Imagined Sects) by Azmi Bishara, (Doha: ACRPS), 822pp. 2018.
The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) has released a new book titled Al-Ta'ifa, Al-Ta'ifiya wal-Tawa'if Al-Motakhayala (Sect, Sectarianism and Imagined Sects) written by public intellectual Azmi Bishara.
The giant book, comprised of 15 chapters of 822 pages with 200 pages of index and references, develops a theory on sects and sectarianism and undertakes a sociological-historical study on the emergence of sects.
It comes in conjunction with Bishara's two previous publications on the relationship of historical religious phenomena and secularism: Religion and Secularism in Historical Context.
In the book, Bishara tackles the transformation of social sectarianism into political sectarianism, based on a theoretical framework that intersects with social theories, socio-historical analysis and the comparison of Arab and international models.
The book is distinguished by its development of the concept of sectarianism based on new definitions of "sect" and "sectarianism" and by its development of the concept of "imagined sects" through the study of these phenomena and their development within the historical Arabic-Islamic context, making the theory distinct from other concepts used to study the evolution of religious groups in the Western context.
Azmi Bishara is a well-known Arab public intellectual, as well as the General Director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. He was previously a professor of philosophy at Birzeit University in Palestine and was also a parliamentary representative of the Palestinian community which remained within the 1949 boundaries of Israel.