'The Other Shia: Ismaili development practice in an age of "radical Islam"'


This paper addresses the limits of representation of Shia Muslim actors in IR discourse, and the benefits of development discourse within IR for broadening this representation. Preliminary results from a survey of journals in IR and cognate fields suggest that the profile of the Shia is overwhelmingly one of securitization, whereby Shia actors are the subjects (or carriers) of disruption in the international system – or, as a correlate – the objects of democratic reform. The Ismaili are an ethnically diverse community of Muslims situated within the Shia tradition of Islam. The present Imam is the Aga Khan Prince Karim al-Husseini. The paper problematizes the overly securitised representation of Shia actors via a study of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in the domains of international development and diplomacy. The recognition of dynamic religious identities in the international sphere is thus explored.


religion, international development, international relations, Islam, Ismailis, Aga Khan Development Network


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