Penetrations & (S)Permutations: a pscyhological exploration of modernity, islam & fundamentalisms


Academic, theological and cultural discussions on fundamentalism are overwhelmingly dominated by a discourse on the need for ‘modernization and development’ in the Muslim world. Yet, the crude distinction between East and West, religious and non-religious, Muslim and modern frequently fails to understand the under currents of psychological thought patterns in modern forms of fundamentalism. If we genuinely want to have a deeper understanding of contemporary tensions, Muslims as well as non-Muslims need to look beyond geo-politcal explanations and recognize how key dimensions of Islamism are deeply linked to the modern, masculine ‘mind’.

This psychological and feminist exploration identifies some of the intricate links between modernity, Islam, gender, sexuality, violence and fundamentalisms. Mediated by certain psycho-theological ‘penetrations and (s)permutations’, they form the psychology of a growing global paranoia about ‘the other’, East and West.


“A fascinating, unconventional and striking book. Its limited concern with formal academic expectations and conventions gives it a touch of unpredictability and freshness that challenges those with fixed ideas about their responsibility to Islamic scholarship and those who believe that the last word has been said on Islamic knowledge systems.” Ashis Nandy, Political Psychologist, winner of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize, author of The Intimate Enemy.

“The meticulous scholarship and deep insights of the author bring us back to hypermasculine/dominator undercurrents in both religious fundamentalism and secular modernity. A very courageous book that shines new light on how we can transcend present thinking and move forward at this increasingly dangerous time in history.” Riane Eisler, president of the Center for Partnership Studies, author of The Chalice and the Blade and The Real Wealth of Nations.

Dr. D. Latifa
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