Habermas’s Notion of a Post-Secular Society. A Perspective from International Relations

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dc.contributor.author BARBATO, Mariano
dc.contributor.author KRATOCHWIL, Friedrich
dc.date.accessioned 2008-07-14T16:45:39Z
dc.date.available 2008-07-14T16:45:39Z
dc.date.issued 2008
dc.identifier.issn 1830-7728
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1814/9011
dc.description.abstract How can secular Western IR theory deal with religion? Bringing in the debates on religion in the public sphere, the paper’s goal is to foster a deeper understanding of the nexus between religion and international relations. Religion in global politics challenges the notion of a secular world order based on contract and custom in a system of states, as they had developed since the Westphalian settlement. According to this foundational myth religion mattered only domestically, and there only within the 'private' realm. The forces of globalization inevitably transcend the traditional boundaries of the state and also the fundamental distinction between the public and the private. The ongoing IR debate based on terrorism, and asymmetric conflict is decidedly too narrow to understand this fundamental challenge. It is here that the discussion in political theory which focused on the changing configuration of the public sphere (public/private distinction) attains it importance for the IR debate about religion in a global perspective. It supplements the debate in international relations that addresses the re-drawing of boundaries that had traditionally marked the internal/ external (global) distinction, but offers more than Huntington or Norris and Inglehart. For both of them the decisive breaks in the tectonics of world politics are cultural fault-lines where a secular segment of the world population is facing a religious one. The problem with this kind of argument is that of a dangerous selffulfilling prophecy. Contrary to others who still hope to round up the wagons and fight back the passing raids of the challengers, Habermas has understood that it does not make much sense trying to push religion into the camp of fundamentalism. In our paper we use Habermas’s notion of a post-secular society in a global perspective to understand the challenge of the Westphalian system without running into the trap of a clash of civilizations. To do so, we contrast Habermas’s suggestion of a post-secular society with Berger’s claim of the desecularization of the world and Connolly’s deep pluralism and politics of becoming. Based on Chambers’s interpretation of Habermas we offer a strong and a weak reading of the concept of a post-secular society and argue that only a strong reading can meet the needs of a global public sphere. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher European University Institute
dc.relation.ispartofseries EUI MWP en
dc.relation.ispartofseries 2008/25 en
dc.subject International relations en
dc.subject globalization en
dc.subject religion en
dc.subject secularization en
dc.subject secularism en
dc.subject post-secular society en
dc.subject public sphere en
dc.subject Jürgen Habermas en
dc.subject William Connolly en
dc.subject Peter L. Berger en
dc.title Habermas’s Notion of a Post-Secular Society. A Perspective from International Relations en
dc.type Working Paper en


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