From the mouth of God: 'the political' from a post-secular perspective

Lucia Michelutti (University College London)
Alice Forbess (London School of Economics)
David Gellner, Mark Lamont
Education Seminar Room
Start time:
26 August, 2010 at 11:30
Session slots:


Although it is now widely acknowledged that the master narrative of secularisation fails to properly account for religion's influential impact on the public sphere, normative models of 'the political' predicated on the axiomatic separation of politics and religion remain largely unchallenged in mainstream scholarship, policy-making and development work. This panel challenges a set of cutting edge theorists and comparative work (from Europe to the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia), to re-think 'the political' from a post-secular perspective. Across the globe, post-secular understandings of 'the political' and 'democracy' have provided spaces for the development of new practices, languages of political legitimation, transformative political experiments. This work highlights the need for a re-theorisation of 'the political' capable of conceptualising the merging of sacred/profane domains both in everyday life and institutional contexts. Speakers are invited to address the following themes: 1) To what extent do new forms of governance and ongoing transformations of existing institutions privilege particular political theologies and religious rhetorics? 2) Why is it that democratic ideas and practices, and particularly ideas of legitimacy, freedom, agency, social justice are so often reinterpreted in ways that blur the boundaries between religion and politics? 3) Through what 'religious' mechanisms do politicians gain popularity and charisma? 4) How is 'the politics of hope' and of 'aspirations' caught in the language of religion by politicians in different socio-cultural contexts and transnationally?