Understanding the Discourse of British Muslim NGOs: Islamic Relief and MADE as Case Studies
Pettinato, Davide Domenico
Date: 17 July 2017
PettinatoD (version of the thesis containing third party copyright material: to be withheld from public access and retained for preservation purposes only) (PDF, 4.729Mb)
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
PhD in Arab and Islamic Studies
Inspired by the increasingly high visibility of British Muslim NGOs (BMNGOs), by the lack of research on their discourses and by the growing salience of frames theory within the mainstream NGO sector, this thesis offers a significant and original contribution by exploring, describing, and analysing the discourse of two BMNGOs carefully ...
Inspired by the increasingly high visibility of British Muslim NGOs (BMNGOs), by the lack of research on their discourses and by the growing salience of frames theory within the mainstream NGO sector, this thesis offers a significant and original contribution by exploring, describing, and analysing the discourse of two BMNGOs carefully selected as case studies: Islamic Relief (IR) and MADE (Muslim Action for Development and the Environment). The primary aim of the thesis is empirical, driven by the research question: ‘what frames seem to be at work in the discourse of BMNGOs?’ Through an in-depth analysis of a range of public documents produced by the two case studies (e.g. annual reports and websites), the thesis identifies and analyses the main frames used by IR and MADE to articulate three key aspects of their discourses: i) organisational identity; ii) mobilisation efforts; and iii) conceptualisations of their supporter base. Guided by this overarching research question, the thesis offers an original and interdisciplinary insight into the nuances of the case studies’ meaning systems, thereby showing their complexities and resonance with multiple narratives and ideational repertoires. The emerging ‘thick descriptions’ of IR and MADE represent, in and of themselves, the main results of the study, which is intended to enable readers from different disciplinary backgrounds to gain a nuanced insight into BMNGOs’ discourses. At a secondary level, the thesis also pursues the theoretical aim to start exploring how the frames identified in the study inform the two research sub-questions: ‘how to think about BMNGOs?’ and ‘how to think about British Muslim civic engagement?’ Several observations are put forward in this regard. Taken together, these suggest that IR can be understood as a faith-based organisation that simultaneously draws on a range of heritages and increasingly offers opportunities for active citizenship among British Muslims within the framework of what is broadly characterizable as a ‘NGO-led order’. On the other hand, the thesis suggests that MADE can be understood as an exemplar of the current era of ‘loose activist networks’, more precisely as a ‘Muslim lifestyle’ social movement organisation that promotes among British Muslims a multifaceted form of civic engagement inspired by an Islamic ethical framework.
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