Islam and the Postsecular

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The language of the ‘postsecular’ acknowledges the enduring presence of faith in politics, repudiating secularisation theses claiming diminution or privatisation of religion in social and political life. In cognitive and experiential worlds, those presumably unfettered by these conceptions (for example, the Islamic Cultural Zones or ICZs), the postsecular presents a different order of challenge and possibility. The term ICZs refers to Muslim majority areas informed by transnational subjectivities loosely connecting varied Islamic societies around symbolic commonality, memory, and historical experience. The term stresses the plurality of Islamic cultural experience, albeit distinguished by recognisable semiotic markers, without essentialising Islamic identity. This article questions the hegemonic view pervasive in both secular and postsecular theorising of the fiction of immutability of faith in the ICZs and recognises its rupture and displacement under conditions of late modernity. The ontological dislocation in the character of religion itself under conditions of late modernity opens up the possibility to account for the assumed resistance of Islam to secular modernity, but also to explain Islam's imbrications in politics read under the sign of Political Islam. Paradoxically, under the condition of late modernity, a more homogenised Islam appears to crystallise in the ICZs at odds with an ‘open’ Islam.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1056
Number of pages16
JournalReview of International Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


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