Posts Tagged ‘social movements’

June 1st, 2017

Is the “native” secular?

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Stand With Standing Rock Nov 11-15 2016 | Image via Flickr user Leslie PetersonHeadlines scream of burgeoning populism around the world, but the shift in politics today could also be described as a return of nativism, and perhaps even of a certain indigeneity. Politicians speak of a people at home in a land, rooted in that land. They evoke the threats posed by those perceived to lack such roots: immigrants, racial minorities, and global elites.

There is a romance to the land, from rural farms and mines, to the provincial village, to the post-industrial city—sites  of lost dreams, of vanishing greatness. The specifics of place are joined together under the heading of “nation,” but nation alone is cold and abstract; it must be joined with the warmth of nativeness—indigeneity—to capture the imagination. Of course there are agents involved: politicians conjuring the images and feelings of nativeness, and the powers that be—whiteness, patriarchy, neoliberalism—whom those politicians serve, wittingly or unwittingly.

July 17th, 2013

Preaching after the Trayvon Martin verdict

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How can religion aid or complicate the ways in which people make sense of the trial of George Zimmerman and understand its social implications? Since the verdict, religious centers across the country have become spaces for healing, prayer, and process for religious members of different faith communities. Elizabeth Drescher and Dan Webster also discuss the verdict’s implications on how they comprehend God, the law, and their responsibility in society.


June 12th, 2013

The anatomy of a public square movement

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Sociologist (and longtime TIF contributor) Nilüfer Göle assesses the emerging opposition movement in Turkey at Today’s Zaman.

February 22nd, 2011

The power of a new political imagination

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The Tunisian revolution, as a revolution of ordinary people, inspired the demonstrations in Egypt, leading to Mubarak’s fall. It has opened the Tunisian people’s political imagination, which had been foreclosed by the elites in power, with the support of Tunisia’s European and American allies. This new narrative of change through popular revolution has expressed what was previously impossible to say openly: that a radical regime change is necessary and must lead to individual freedom (both economic and political), political representation, and government accountability. The self-immolation of Muhammad Bouazizi made manifest the economic and political plight of the Tunisian youth and the people’s distrust of a state that had humiliated them, repressed all dissent, and practiced corruption at all levels since the country became independent in 1956. Tunisians and Egyptians have expressed their desire to become citizens, rather than subjects, of their states.

February 21st, 2011

Egyptian revolution round-up

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For the eighteen days that tens of thousands of Egyptians were rallying to push strongman Hosni Mubarak ever closer to abdication, time itself seemed to pass differently than usual. Something has been happening, though nobody knows exactly where it will go.

February 17th, 2011

The science of people power: An interview with Gene Sharp

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Gene Sharp is the foremost strategist of nonviolent social change alive today. He holds a doctorate in political theory from Oxford and has had positions at Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Books like The Politics of Nonviolent Action and Waging Nonviolent Struggle, together with numerous pamphlets and other writings, have inspired and guided popular movements around the world for decades. They have been credited, most recently, as a major influence on the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. He continues his work as Senior Scholar of the Albert Einstein Institution, which operates out of his home in East Boston.

January 31st, 2011

Religion, elections, and civil society in Egypt

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Amid the ongoing upheaval in Egypt, Clifford Bob discusses the U.S. Government perspective on Egypt’s future and the possibly—or, rather, probably—significant role to be played by religious associations and political parties in the event of a post-Mubarak transition

August 6th, 2010

Parodic politics

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Perhaps the upswing in religious individualism in this postmodern, postsecular period doesn’t herald the breakdown of community after all—nor does the rise of a postmodern culture mean the death of parodic political activism. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, though a small organization, may be indicative of larger patterns that we as sociologists have yet to thoroughly study: the roles of postsecular religiosities in community and activism, and the force of parody in postmodern politics.

March 19th, 2010

A new generation of Muslim activists

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According to a recent story in Time magazine, there is a new type of Muslim activism brewing across the globe. Nonviolent and antijihadist, this new cohort of activists is still profoundly religious, and its members seek a way to combine religious identity with the modern world of Facebook.

December 31st, 2007

The fragility of global solidarity

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In my last post, I suggested that the religious communities of the world may have something to contribute to the strengthening of global civil society. If not for the commitments to human rights and human flourishing mobilized by such communities, after all, what will be able to produce some functional equivalent to the powerful mobilization of human aggression by nation states as a basis for global solidarity? […]