normative environments. By doing this we are better placed to engage with the
regulation of life and the subjugation of life to death.
1 This chapter is a modified version of an article originally published in Third World
Quarterly. I thank the editors for permission to reuse it here.
2 IbnKhaldun, The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History (Franz Rosenthal trans.)
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967), p. 39.
3 Charles Tilly, The Formation of Nation States in Western Europe (Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975), p. 45.
philosophical and practical considerations.
Scholars as far back as IbnKhaldun have focused upon the social power of religion,
which, as the twentieth century developed, became increasingly important. At the turn
of the century, religion was largely seen as a private matter, yet in the postcolonial
period, a number of regimes used the legitimising ideologies of religion to support
their claims to self-determination. Religion took on an increasing political importance,
leading to the emergence of competition between the nationalist movements of pan-
Arabists who advocated