Ozlem Madi-Sisman’s book, Muslims, Money and Democracy in Turkey: Reluctant Capitalists (London: Palgrave, 2017), offers a nuanced understanding of the complex relationship between Islam and Capitalism and sheds light on an effort being made to reconcile Islam with capitalist ideology, with a particular attention to Turkey.
The book’s historically informed, interdisciplinary approach provides us with a fresh look at the shifting relationship between capitalism and Islam, and an important but uncommon understanding of Islamism. The case of IGIAD and their multi layered struggle and ultimate compromise with capitalism places Turkey’s emergent new capitalism into perspective by analyzing role of religion in class formation in emerging countries and why the enlargement of the middle class did not result in further democratization. During the last two decades, similar to Turkey, the actors of the Islamic movements have established themselves as indispensable and influential players through their engagements with capitalism and democracy in the Middle East. The cases of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Al-Nahda (Awakening) Party in Tunisia, the Islamic Salvation Party in Algeria, the Justice and Development Party in Morocco, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine, Islah (Reform) Party in Yemen, Islamic Action Front in Jordan, al-Wefaq in Bahrain, and Al-Da`wa (Cause) in Iraq are just few to mention. In that regard, the book provides us with a comparative perspective, by giving us crucial indications as to whether or not there is something “exceptional” about global Muslim attitudes towards capitalism and democracy. Last but not least, the book allows us to revise some of the radical assumptions of modernization and moderation theories, by bringing examples from the world of Islam.
Dr. Madi-Sisman is teaching courses on world politics and international relations and American government both at the University Houston, and the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Her research and publications are informed by her deep interest in Islam, Capitalism, Islamic Bourgeois, gender and Turkish, Middle Eastern and world politics.