To continue our discussion I suggest setting up ongoing discussion of texts that might inform our understanding of Political Belonging. (I have suggested as much here)
If I my suggest a starting point, I would like to propose reading Bryan Turner's essay 'Acts of Piety: The Political and the Religious, or a Tale of Two Cities', which can be downloaded here. As this is a suggestion my question to you is twofold: do you think this is a fruitful way of continuing our discussion? And, would you know a text to read after this one?
As I am reading this text for an article that I am writing, I will share some of my thoughts on this text with you at the end of this week.
Why this text?
This article has been published in Engin Isin's collection of essays called Acts of Citizenship (2008), which in its entirety might offer an interesting discussion about how we can think about political belonging. The collection as a whole is aware of many of the pitfalls we discussed during our workshop (to see political belonging, secularism and religion as a sort of universal matrix that can be applied everywhere and anytime). Instead, what is offered is an understanding of political belonging that is dynamic, immanent and creative. By the way, 'citizenship' is explicitly not connected to a certain political status, but to a mode of acting (that, btw, includes those who are not officially counted as citizens). Or, to quote a definition from the first essay by Isin himself:
'we define acts of citizenship as those acts that transform forms (orientations, strategies, technologies) and modes (citizens, strangers, outsiders, aliens) of being political by bringing into being new actors (...) through creating new sites and scales of struggle' (39)
Bryan Turner builds upon this definition and applies it to the domains of religion and politics. This leads him to a discussion of amongst others, the domain of the body, the domain of everyday norms and practices, and a discussion of the crisis in secularism in general.
In light of some of the problems that were voiced concerning the notion 'political belonging' ( Is it not too much focussed on a realm of 'politics' over and against, say, realms of culture?), it might be interesting to read this text and see whether it could serve as a basis for a more nuanced and critically engaged understanding of political belonging. Or, is this text still too much steeped in the secular divide between religion and politics?
I would love to hear your thoughts!