An Islamic Modernity? Religion, Civil Society and Contemporary Politics in Bangladesh

Hussain, Naseem A.

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Lecture held at the South Asia Institute in Heidelberg on 1st July, 2008. In order to understand two major political trends in Bangladesh, the modern politics of democratization and presence of religion in the political discourse, an attempt is made in this presentation to understand people as human agents of transformation in the context of culture without being culturally prejudiced. This draws our attention to the history that the Bengalis have uprisings in almost every generation against oppressive ruler but being unable to handle the subsequent disorder they return to authoritarian rule again. Geertz's concept of "poetics of power" is useful in understanding the Bengali mode of thought which exemplifies a political system characterized by a combination of "outwardly authoritarian" and "inwardly democratic" principles but not vice versa. Instead of the aesthetics of traditional social relations for the sake of harmony and reciprocity, Bangladesh has established hegemony of power at the state level. The hegemony in Bangladesh has been established through capitalist penetration and recently through neo-economic liberalism and globalization. The new economic and political forces bring different concepts into a confrontational relation in the present context of Bangladesh. The country is experiencing a constant invocation of religion in the arena of politics. Religious fundamentalism was previously considered as a polemical term representing an essentialized anti-modernism. Islamization discourse has developed through an interaction with modernity. One significant aspect of Islamization is the quest for origin, but it does not call to go back to Bengali origin or localized religious practices but to scriptural norms. Another focus in this paper is on the gender perspective of globalization and islamization.

Document type: Audio
Date: 2008
Version: Primary publication
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2008 13:44
Faculties / Institutes: Universitäten / Institute > South Asia Institute / Department of Political Science
DDC-classification: Political science
Controlled Keywords: Bangladesch, Politik, Islam, Religion, Bürgerliche Gesellschaft
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bangladesch , Islam , Modernität , Zivilgesellschaft, Bangladesh , Islam , Modernity , Religion , Civil Society
Subject (classification): Politics
Countries/Regions: Bangladesh