The Disclosure of Politics

Term: Spring 2010

Subject Code: GPHI

Course Number: 6626


The argument of my course is that religion and politics have always been interrelated in the Western world, albeit in different ways.  Politics has used religious concepts and stories because of the need to ground arguments about political authority. I claim that this quest to find a notion of authority is what has linked inextricably religion to politics. However, one can still recognize the need for the autonomy of politics since there are few conceptual exceptions based on the disclosure of social practices that have nothing to do with religious’ legacies. The coining of new concepts for the political allows me to develop the conclusion that those concepts were the ones that permitted the real disclosure of the political.  This step—I would like to explain-- is related to a shift in focus:  modern politics appeared when theorists moved from the problem of grounding authority into the question of how to define the new territory of social interactions with self-created rules of legitimacy. I exemplify these developments through the examination of three theoretical models of secularization. My aim is to show how these models interpret the interdependency of religion to politics  in the Western World. But only one model solves the problem of the autonomy of politics. It is the last model—the creative model-- which I called the disclosive one, where we can find the chance to explain why certain categories are disclosive of specific social practices. They attest to the goal of developing legitimacy with political deliberations about how to choose rules and defined them. At stake is the possibility of conceiving a new way to think about power and an inclusionary, open, concept of justice (that differs from the ones found in religion). The social practices are politically disclosive because of innovative exercises of social interactions (such as publicity, political deliberation, and political representation). Those social practices enable political communities to establish the rules of a shared form of power and to find a new concept of political agency.


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