By Talal Asad
Starting with the provocative question “what may well an anthropology of the secular glance like?” this publication explores the innovations, practices, and political formations of secularism, with emphasis at the significant old shifts that experience formed secular sensibilities and attitudes within the sleek West and the center East.
Talal Asad proceeds to dismantle often held assumptions concerning the secular and the terrain it allegedly covers. He argues that whereas anthropologists have orientated themselves to the examine of the “strangeness of the non-European world” and to what are visible as non-rational dimensions of social existence (things like fable, taboo, and religion),the smooth and the secular haven't been appropriately examined.
The end is that the secular can't be seen as a successor to faith, or be visible as at the facet of the rational. it's a type with a multi-layered historical past, on the topic of significant premises of modernity, democracy, and the concept that of human rights. This e-book will attract anthropologists, historians, non secular reviews students, in addition to students engaged on modernity.
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Additional info for Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity
And the shamanic seance, with its drumming, its contorted gestures ;lilt I strange cries, as merely grotesque attempts at deception. 1 classed with the priests and soothsayers of antiquity who had pretended 1'' commune with gods and spirits.
Val. XLIX, no. + 198t, p. 631. 41. It is of some interest that attempts to introduce a unified concept of "the sacred" into non-European languages have met with revealing problems of translation. Thus although the Arabic word qaddsa is usually glossed as "sacredness" in English, it remains the case that it will not do in all the contexts where the English term is now used. zrism Look Lik~! 37 an approach, I submit, would give us a better understanding of how the sacred (and therefore the profane) can become the object not only of religious thought but of secular practice too.
By successfully unmasking pretended power (profaning it) universal reason dis35· According to John Milbank, a profound shift occurred in the later Middle Ages in the way the "sacrament" was understood, making it the external dress of spiritual power, a semantic shift that had far-reaching consequences for modem rcligiosiry (personal communication). See also Michel de Certcau, J11e Mystic Fabk, Chicago: University of ChiCigo Press, 1992, especially chapter 3· 36. William Pien.. "The problem of the fetish, I," Rr~, no.
Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity by Talal Asad