1st International Ibn Khaldun Symposium

İbn Haldun’da Asabiyet

M. Akif Kayapınar

Last modified: 07-09-2017

Abstract (400-500 words)

Why do states rise and fall? Why are some polities able to develop successful social and political organizations, while others are not? Are polities sooner or later destined to collapse? What is it that gives life to a polity? There have always been attempts to answer these and related questions. Recently, however, the attempts seem to have intensified. The decline of the explanatory power of earlier theoretical frameworks based particularly on the Enlightenment approach seems to be the primary reason lying behind the interest in the rising interest of these kind of historical-sociological researches. The weakening of the power of these frameworks, in return, depends upon a comprehensive change taking place all around the world. It is this cultural context that brought Abd al-Rahman Ibn Khaldun, the 14th century North African Muslim historian and philosopher, to the fore in the circles of various social and human sciences. Ibn Khaldun developed a comprehensive theory upon human collectivities, at the center of which lies the rise and fall of states. The core parameter of Ibn Khaldun’s social philosophy is ‘asabiyyah, without which no collective political action is taken place. Despite its centrality, however, ‘asabiyyah has not been clearly defined yet. It is, therefore, a must for us to understand and define ‘asabiyyah in a productive way to be able to make use of Ibn Khaldun’s social philosophy in understanding and explaining the transformations we undergo today. Thus, throughout this paper I will look for the answers of three basic questions. In the first place, what does it mean for a group to have ‘asabiyyah? Secondly, how ‘asabiyyah comes into existence? Finally, what is ‘asabiyyah? Defined in a comprehensive way, ‘asabiyyah would be a productive parameter in social sciences.


Ibn Khaldun; Assabiyya, Political Theory, Atate Formation, Socio-Political Change, Organicism

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