Revisiting “Assabiyyah” in Ibn Khaldun’s "Muqadimmah": Explaining the Recalcitrance of Social Solidarity in the Political

By Anagha Ingole.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Global Studies

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International Relations theories are increasingly trying to grapple with the phenomenon of resurgent identities changing the dynamics of international politics. This remains true for explaining post-9/11 US policy in West Asia, the Arab Spring, and also the current isolation of the US on Syria. Though the Realist explanations (such as the dissolving of USA’s central authority being the reason for intensified emergence of other anchors of politics based on identity) abound, the recalcitrance of social bonds of solidarity and the role of their nodal points in politics demands theorization in their own right. The field of inquiry into the intellectual history of this idea has been rather dry. The study of the treatment of "Assabiyyah" in Khaldun can be said to offer a starting point. The paper revisits the history and context of the idea of "Assabiyyah" in Ibn Khaldun, the 13th century Islamic scholar, to inquire as to how much it can be said to define the realm of the political today. It argues that the concept of social solidarity can neither be refuted as primeval bonds of kinship nor can the complexity of its social evolution and persistence in the political be captured by the Durkheimian dichotomous classification of mechanical and organic solidarity. It thus tries to explore the potential of the idea of "Assabiyyah" in Ibn Khaldun as a non-dichotomous one which cannot be restricted to the discipline of sociology but is an explicitly political one, to explain the turn towards identity, culture, and civilization in the theories of international relations.

Keywords: Social Solidarity, Khaldun, Identity, International Relations Theory

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Global Studies, Volume 10, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.33-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 518.804KB).

Anagha Ingole

Ph.D Candidate, Centre for International Politics Organization and Disarmamanet, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India