Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

April 26th, 2017

Understanding the president’s reality: Our unconscious, not his

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Edvard Munch, "The Scream," 1895The matter of the love-hate relationship between psychoanalysis and public life has an unexpected link to the complexities of secularism in the United States. Officially, psychoanalysis has been dismissed as a mode of inquiry into the issues of public life and especially into the states of mind of its actors. This is the result of the famous Goldwater Rule, introduced into the ethics code of the American Psychiatric Association following the 1964 presidential election, when analysts had the temerity to “diagnose” Barry Goldwater without the benefit of having him on their couches.

The Goldwater Rule came at a time when psychoanalysis was influential among psychiatrists, who had transformed the complex experience of the talking cure and the endless variations of human behavior into rigid diagnostic categories of mental illnesses. It is now common practice among psychiatrists to say that unless a patient expresses a complaint, psychiatrists are not ethically permitted to speak of the condition that supposedly is causing the mental distress. My attempt to explain President Donald Trump’s behavior in psychoanalytic terms is perceived by some not only as unethical, but as arrogant and insulting to a citizen who is not a patient and most probably will never become one.

There was a time, however, when psychoanalysis was squarely part of American culture, public discourse, and of the world of ideas.

March 15th, 2017

Understanding the president’s reality: A psychoanalytic contribution to public life

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Edvard Munch, "The Scream," 1895It would not have taken long for French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan to realize that President Donald Trump has a paranoid vision of the world. This does not mean that President Trump is insane, but rather that he has never left the mental space we all inhabited as toddlers and that we have never entirely forgotten. A glimpse of this place comes vividly to mind when we feel insanely jealous, dismissed, or ignored. But most adults no longer live here day in and day out, because the love we took in as children is usually strong enough to help us fashion an image of ourselves that we can rely upon when we feel challenged . . . .

The paranoid structure is not foreign to us because it is a rigid, simplified, and distorted version of the ordinary way we see the world. In that sense President Trump’s behaviors, discourse, and actions are not as erratic as they appear. They follow a logic that we are equipped to understand.

February 23rd, 2015

Religion in Britain: Demography, identity, and the public sphere

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Over at Public Spirit, to coincide with the publication of the second edition of Grace Davie’s Religion in Britain, Tariq Modood comments on on three significant changes with demography, identity, and the public sphere are going to characterize the next few decades and perhaps beyond.

February 18th, 2014

Religion in European migration studies

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In recent years, religion has come back to the research agenda of the European social sciences with full strength. Important authors such as José Casanova, Timothy A. Byrnes, and Peter J. Katzenstein have identified this renewed interest in the topic, both in politics and in academia, as a “return of religion” to European public spheres. One of the chief reasons for the return of religion in the view of these sociologists is the large influx of non-secularized populations to Europe through immigration. In particular, conflicts surrounding Islam and the practices of Muslim immigrants have attracted enormous attention both in the media and in academia.

September 5th, 2013

Catholic bishops on immigration reform

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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has undertaken a coordinated effort to preach the message of immigration reform in diocese across America as reported by The New York Times.

April 25th, 2011

From exodus to immigration

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At Killing the Buddha:

“Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists broke matzo with Jewish Israelis in a Tel Aviv basketball court before this year’s Passover began. The “Out of Egypt” seder, a thousand-strong gathering in a seedy park near the central bus station, was four days early; many of the guests—African refugees and Asian migrant workers—are busy cleaning Israeli homes during Passover proper. The Sudanese and Eritrean guests have literal Out-of-Egypt stories to tell: Most lived in Cairo for months or years before crossing the Sinai by foot to get to Israel. But there’s no Moses in their exodus stories. There are Bedouin smugglers who charge thousands of dollars to lead them through the desert. There are Egyptian border guards who shoot. There are barbed-wire fences to run and jump—if they make it, into another people’s Zion.”

February 22nd, 2011

Debating European multiculturalism

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Earlier this week, Eurozine published three pieces by European intellectuals—Cécile Laborde, Claus Leggewie, and Kenan Malik—responding to the recent attacks on multiculturalism by Merkel and Cameron.

February 7th, 2011

Cameron’s multikulti moment

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Echoing comments made by his German counterpart (as well as his Labour predecessor), British PM David Cameron spoke out strongly against multiculturalism at the Munich Security Conference.

January 3rd, 2011

Of saints, separatism, and secularization (part 2)

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In my previous post, I discussed the ambivalent legacy of the Catholic Church in Québec in light of the recent canonization of the province’s first homegrown saint. I suggested that the post-sixties rise of Québécois nationalism emerged largely at the expense of this Catholic identity, which many blamed for Québec’s longtime passivity in the face of English-Canadian domination, even as the Church also played a key historical role in the survival of French-Canadian culture. In this post, I would like to suggest the ways in which this complex politico-religious legacy has shaped current debates over the “reasonable accommodation” of immigrants in Québec.

October 31st, 2010

“Leadership and Leitkultur”

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In The New York Times, Jürgen Habermas discusses the current political situation in Germany and the general challenge to liberal democracy enfolded in attempts to define and defend a national culture.

July 19th, 2010

“Who is a Jew?”

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A controversial bill passed the Israeli Knesset’s (Parliament) law committee this week.  The Rotem Bill, as it is known (named after its sponsor, David Rotem, a member of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party), would give ultimate control of the conversion process to the ultra-orthodox, Haredi, rabbinate.  This bill has caused both concern and indignation in the diasporic Jewish community. See Alana Newhouse’s recent op-ed in The New York Times.

July 7th, 2010

Why the Assemblies of God is like the Democratic Party

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New York Times columnist Charles Blow began his Saturday piece with a surprising question: “Which political party’s members are most likely to believe that Jesus will definitely return to earth before midcentury?” Answer: the Democrats.

June 30th, 2010

Democrats and evangelicals try to forge coalition for immigration reform

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The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) was introduced in 2009 to close a loophole in immigration law that discriminated against homosexuals. As Sarah Posner documents at Religion Dispatches, this provision has become more controversial as the democrats have reached out to religious organizations to help in their fight for immigration reform.

June 29th, 2010

Religious views on immigration don’t mirror party politics

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In a recent article for Mother Jones, Suzy Khimm asks whether a right-wing schism may be developing over immigration reform.  In recent months, many evangelical leaders- including conservative Christians like Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention- have voiced support for immigration reform that would include a pathway to legalization for many undocumented immigrants. While Land’s group has supported a comprehensive approach to reform for several years, he has become more adament in his support since the passage of Arizona’s contentious immigration law. These increased efforts by conservative Christians on behalf of immigrants have created conflict between their groups and right-wing groups opposed to immigration reform, making former allies into possible political enemies.

April 23rd, 2010

Muslims in European public spheres and the limits of liberal theories of citizenship

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istanbul'un Orta Yeri Minare by :::Melike::: "ex oriente lux" | Photograph used under a Creative Commons licenseRecent events in Europe, from the cartoon crisis in Denmark to the controversy over the construction of minarets in Switzerland, have brought the status of Islam in the secular public sphere to the forefront of European political debates. The consequences of these debates can be seen in a hardening of the boundary between what is public and what is private, as many assume that religion generally belongs to the private sphere. Collective views in Europe have come to dictate that any claim or expression in public space deriving from religious beliefs be seen as illegitimate. As Jürgen Habermas has noted, the liberal vision of a secular public sphere imposes a special burden on the shoulders of religious citizens. Many believers, however, would not be able to undertake such an artificial division in their own minds between their religious beliefs and their civic commitments without destabilizing their existence as pious persons.

March 30th, 2010

Immigration and Religion in America

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At Religion in American History, Paul Harvey blogs about Immigration and Religion in America: Comparative and Historical Persectives (NYU Press, 2008), a product of the SSRC’s Migration and Religion Program edited by Richard Alba, Albert J. Raboteau, and Josh DeWind.

December 9th, 2009

Does Europe have a Muslim problem?

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In the New York Review of Books, Malise Ruthven reads Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West alongside Tariq Ramadan’s What I Believe and finds neither to be quite adequate to the challenges they claim to take up. Where Caldwell distorts, Ramadan disengages.

December 4th, 2009

Judith Butler and Cornel West in conversation

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rethinkingIn a recent symposium held by the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU, the Social Science Research Council and the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook University, Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and Cornel West came together to discuss the project of “rethinking secularism.” Today we are posting audio and a transcript of the discussion that took place between Butler and West, moderated by Eduardo Mendieta, in which the two leading thinkers exchange thoughts on the ethics and limitations of citizenship, as well as temporality, memory, and the problematics of progress. (Listen to the paper presentations that preceded this discussion here and add your own voice to the discussion here.)

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