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Rethinking Ties that Bind. Religion and the Rhetoric of Othering

Author(s): Eduardo Terren

Journal: Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies
ISSN 1583-0039

Volume: 3;
Issue: 8;
Start page: 13;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: Religion | cultural diversity | intercultural education | cultural sociology

Contemporary Europe is facing this chal- lenge when redefining its own identity and socializing institutions. This paper focuses on how current discus- sions on the adequacy of a reference to Judeo- Christian heritage in the new European Constitution or on the teaching of religions at schools show the resilience of old-age notions and stereotypes with respect to cultural diversity. In order to explain this resilience, the paper explores how hierarchical percep- tions of otherness (mainly of Muslims) are flourishing within a dichotomized system of representing other- ness. This system is analyzed from the neo- Durkeimian perspective of cultural sociology and placed in connection with the spiritual leadership of fundamentalist conservatism after the fall of the Berlin Wall and with the old trend of Orientalism underlying pervading dominant Western discourses.
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