Under the patronage of Foucault’s discourse theory, the author discusses the catch-all term of Wahhabism used by Russian and Western experts on Islam in the former Soviet Union. Often roughly opposed to Sufism ― which is regarded as “traditional”, ‘adat-friendly, and pacifist ― Wahhabism is the key-word of a rhetoric of fear which progressively flooded the expert discourse on North Caucasus or Central Asia in the 2000s. The article dissects a wide range of articles and books (including scholarly ones) published in Russia which repeatedly use Wahhabism as an explanatory model for highly complex situations and various contexts. Needless to say, as A. Knysh himself reminds, scholars like V. Bobrovnikov or A. Malashenko appear as notable exceptions. See also: Knysh Alexander, “Sufism as an Explanatory Paradigm: The Issue of the Motivations of Sufi Resistance Movements in Western and Russian Scholarship,” Die Welt des Islams 42/2 (2002): 139-73

Alexandre Papas, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: II-1.2.C-53