16 September 2012
We hope you can join us this Wednesday, September 19, 2012 for the Applied Statistics Workshop. Rich Nielsen, a Ph.D. candidate from the Department of Government at Harvard University, will give a practice job talk entitled "Jihadi Radicalization of Muslim Clerics". A light lunch will be served at 12 pm and the talk will begin at 12.15.
"Jihadi Radicalization of Muslim Clerics"
Government Department, Harvard University
CGIS K354 (1737 Cambridge St.)
Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 12.00 pm
This paper explains why some Muslim clerics adopt the ideology of militant Jihad while others do not. I argue that clerics strategically adopt or reject Jihadi ideology because of career incentives generated by the structure of cleric educational networks. Well-connected clerics enjoy substantial success at pursuing comfortable careers within state-run religious institutions and they reject Jihadi ideology in exchange for continued material support from the state. Clerics with poor educational networks cannot rely on connections to advance through the state-run institutions, so many pursue careers outside of the system by appealing directly to lay audiences for support. These clerics are more likely to adopt Jihadi ideology because it helps them demonstrate to potential supporters that they have not been theologically coopted by political elites. I provide evidence of these dynamics by collecting and analyzing 29,430 fatwas, articles, and books written by 91 contemporary clerics. Using statistical natural language processing, I measure the extent to which each cleric adopts Jihadi ideology in their writing. I combine this with biographical and network information about each cleric to trace the process by which poorly-connected clerics become more likely to adopt Jihadi ideology.
Posted by Konstantin Kashin at September 16, 2012 10:37 PM