Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Islam; Civilizing Process; Eccentric Modernity?

Armando Salvatore of Humboldt University, Germany decided to explore a sociological issue and entitled it:

Eccentric modernity?
An Islamic perspective on the civilizing process and the public sphere

The abstract:-

This article engages with Johann Arnason’s approach to the entanglements of culture and power in comparative civilizational analysis by simultaneously reframing the themes of the civilizing process and the public sphere. It comments and expands upon some key insights of Arnason concerning the work of Norbert Elias and Jürgen Habermas by adopting an ‘Islamic perspective’ on the processes of singularization of power from its cultural bases and of reconstruction of a modern collective identity merging the steering capacities and the participative ambitions of an emerging urban intelligentsia.

The Islamic perspective provides insights into the interplay between civilizing processes and the modes through which cultural traditions innervate a modern public sphere. By revisiting key remarks of Arnason on Elias and Habermas, the Islamic perspective gains original contours, reflecting the search for a type of modernity that is eccentric to the mono-civilizational axis of the Western-led, global civilizing process. While this eccentric positioning entails a severe imbalance of power, it also relativizes the centrality of the modern state in the civilizing process and evidences some original traits of the public sphere in a non-Western context.

Johann P. Arnason is
Emeritus Professor of Sociology at La Trobe University, Melbourne, where he taught from 1975 to 2003, and visiting professor at the Faculty of Human Studies, Charles University, Prague. He has been visiting professor in Paris and Leipzig, and a fellow of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies in Uppsala. His research interests centre on historical sociology, with particular emphasis on the comparative analysis of civilizations. Publications include Civilizations in Dispute (2003) Axial Civilizations and World History (co-edited with S.N.Eisenstadt and Björn Wittrock, 2004), The Roman Empire in Context: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (edited with Kurt Raaflaub, 2010).

and you should know:

...Johann P. Arnason's historical phenomenological investigations of the world horizon as a promising starting point. For Arnason, interculturality is an inescapable dimension of the world and the phenomenal field; he elaborates it along relational and interactive lines as part of his emphasis on the trans-subjective - that is, cultural - level of analysis.

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