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Online Department Seminar: Trust and the Islamic Advantage: religious-based Movements in Turkey and the Muslim World

Avital Livny
Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm


In much of the Muslim world, Islamic political and economic movements appear to have a comparative advantage. Relative to similar secular groups, they are better able to mobilize supporters and sustain their cooperation long-term. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Turkey, a historically secular country that has experienced a sharp rise in Islamic-based political and economic activity. Drawing on rich data sources and econometric methods, I challenge existing explanations -- such as personal faith -- for the success of these movements. Instead, I show that the Islamic advantage is rooted in feelings of trust among individuals with a shared, religious group-identity. This group-based trust serves as an effective substitute for more generalized feelings of interpersonal trust, which are largely absent in many Muslim-plurality countries. My book presents a new argument for conceptualizing religion as both a personal belief system and collective identity.

The book is already available to download from the CEU library.