Date Thesis Awarded

5-2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

International Relations

Advisor

Rani Mullen

Committee Members

T.J. Cheng

Chitralekha Zutshi

Stephen Sheehi

Abstract

This research examines the role that Islamic ideology plays in Pakistani politics at the national and sub-national levels. It seeks to understand how Islamic parties appeal to Islam to garner support. I pull from and contribute largely to the theoretical literature on nationalism and apply it specifically to my research question. I argue that political leaders rely on Islamic rhetoric more heavily at the national level to create a national identity. However, my research will also show that this phenomena is less prominent in sub-national politics. At the provincial level, political parties and party leaders are more likely to engage their constituents by using rhetoric that speaks to their ethnic identity and promises access to essential resources. To provide evidence for this argument, a corpus analysis was chosen to investigate news articles, interviews, and quotes from Islamic political leaders at the sub-national and national levels, specifically political leaders from the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. The main result from this research is that Islamic rhetoric is used differently at the two levels. Thus, these results contribute to a better understanding of what motivates Islamic political parties in Pakistan and whether or not they are meaningfully distinct from other, more secular, political parties in Pakistan.

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