Secularism and Its Ambiguities
Three Case Studies
Is the world we inhabit secular or religious – or both? Obviously, the answer depends from the place we inhabit, from the social environment we belong, and also from the different meanings attached to the word “secularism”. (Recently, I have been told that in India “secularism” means “openness to all religions”). But there is no doubt that the relationship between secularism and religions – punctuated by tensions, contentions, hybridizations – is full of ambiguities. The aim of these lectures is to contribute to a better (and badly needed) understanding of these issues.
December 4 - II: Sacred Sociology
The second lecture will deal with the Collège de Sociologie (Paris, 1937-1939) – a most relevant attempt (not devoid of ambiguities, as Walter Benjamin remarked) to analyze the ideological components of fascism. Georges Bataille’s fundamental contribution to the debates of the Collège, focused mostly on the notion of “sacred sociology”, has been repeatedly discussed, although often in a narrow, self-referential perspective. The lecture will analyze Bataille’s approach in a wider (and longer) context, exploring both its antecedents and its implications.