"Is there a Sectarian Habitus in Lebanon? On Secularism and Aspirations"

Religious Diversity Colloquium Winter 2013/14

  • Date: Dec 3, 2013
  • Time: 15:30 - 17:00
  • Speaker: Roschanack Shaery (MPI-MMG)
  • Location: MPI-MMG, Hermann-Föge-Weg 12, Göttingen
  • Room: Conference Room
"Is there a Sectarian Habitus in Lebanon? On Secularism and Aspirations"

For more details please contact vdvoffice(at)mmg.mpg.de.

Sectarianism is imagined in opposition to secularism with the latter celebrated as containing ethical ideals such as tolerance and equality believed to be the preconditions for peaceful coexistence. Sectarianism - often understood as the insistence on presenting one’s own religious tradition as the absolute truth and therefore engaging in violence to preserve it - is deemed in need of modernization. One of the cures often being prescribed is interfaith dialogue. Contrary to such arguments, I suggest sectarianism to be in fact the essence of secular modernity and consider interfaith dialogues as a product of liberal ideologies. Such dialogues not only sideline political and social injustice, as a consequence of celebrating tolerance as an ethical and seemingly apolitical category, but in fact presuppose that religious traditions are inherently and potentially violent and intolerant. Corruption and violence are two of the byproducts of liberal ideologies in Lebanon. Without the existence of successful secular technologies to naturalize citizens’ unequal access to state resources in terms of individual failure, corruption and violence continues to thrive. Rather than an unethical act, corruption is perceived as an aspiration to create social justice and political involvement.


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