Islam and Secular Modernity under Western Eyes:A Genealogy of a Constitutive Relationship
Title: Islam and Secular Modernity under Western Eyes:A Genealogy of a Constitutive Relationship
Series/Report no.: EUI RSCAS; 2008/05; Mediterranean Programme Series
This paper considers the theoretical operations involved in sustaining secular modernity within the realm of social theory. It seeks to understand how the secular operates as an epistemological formation. We examine a set of arguments, considering them as sites of the (discursive) formation of secular modernity. Our inquiry is centred on Islam as a case-study. Its particular position as a double constitutive outsider to social theory, both in terms of a religious as well as a non-Western other, enables us to unpack hegemonic narratives that are constitutive for secular modernity. We examine two scholarly debates that touch upon a question of compatibility between Islam and modernity. In a first section of the paper we look at the sociological debate on the use of a Western concept of secularisation in relation to Islam, and in a second section we addresses a more recent cross-religious concept of 'fundamentalism' as a widely used and popular way to frame realities and developments deemed incompatible with modernity.
Subject: Modernity; Islam; secularization; fundamentalism; Orientalism
Type of Access: openAccess