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The Ideology Factor and Individual Disengagements from the Muslim Brotherhood

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
Article number198
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>17/03/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Religions
Issue number3
Volume12
Number of pages22
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Since 2011, there has been a growing wave of individuals leaving Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and many of them have opted for documented publicity by writing autobiographies narrating their whole journey. This article explores the ideological components of the disengagement process on the basis of a frame analysis of these writings. It seeks to understand how individuals acted against some of the meanings central to the Brotherhood’s ideological character and influence. They construct sets of meanings negating or renegotiating those long fixated, sanctified and ineluctable parts of the group’s ideology. The process of meaning making is situated within the Arab Spring where the Brotherhood’s dominant ideology also suffered from ruptures, incongruence or dissonance. For example, many exiters realized that the group’s ideology is not ‘evolutionary’ enough to align with a ‘revolutionary’ moment in Egypt’s history, and it thus failed to provide them with a sense of meaning regarding the dramatically changing world around them. The disillusionment goes beyond a battle of textually-situated meanings between the Brotherhood and its disgruntled members during the process of their departure from it. It appertains to a context of new resources and opportunities made available to exiters to resist, challenge, and even falsify the dominant ideology without incurring heavy losses or harsh penalties often meted out by the group against its ‘dissidents’. The agency of exiters, i.e., their capacity to act against the group’s ideology or manifest their rebellion against its elements, is also enabled by the state’s relative tolerance towards the exiters, a degree of social assimilation inside Egypt, internal ideological and organizational divisions inside the Brotherhood and geographical re-spatialization