Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2017


This research analyzes the sociopolitical trends of the 20th century that have contributed to the susceptibility of the Middle East to extremist organizations, with a particular focus on Sunni Islamic groups such as the Islamic State. The goal of this analysis is to show how the failure of states to provide sociopolitical and economic stability has led to the politicization of religiosity as an alternative to secular authority.

The major aspects analyzed will be the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, imperialism, nationalism, and the eventual turn towards fundamentalist, extremist organizations within the Middle East. The failure of governmental systems to secure sociopolitical and economic stability has resulted in the undermining of state authority, leaving the region susceptible to insurgencies by extremist organizations in the 21st century that purport legitimized authority through their associations with Islam.