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Islam after Liberalism$
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Faisal Devji and Zaheer Kazmi

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190851279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190851279.001.0001

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Corrupting Politics

Corrupting Politics

(p.47) 2 Corrupting Politics
Islam after Liberalism

Nadia Bou Ali

Oxford University Press

The chapter explores the relationship between culturalism and liberalism in modern Arabic. It argues that internal contradictions from within Arabic thought haunt the attempt to define the Arabs as an organicist community. These contradictions within particular identity are expressed in the pervasive anxiety about habits and language. Anxiety emerges when there is a crisis in imaginary identification, it is generated as a remainder of acknowledging the self in a specular image: the mirror of language, the Arab’s moustache. It emerges from a process of misrecognition, when uncanny elements within identity itself become overwhelming. Rather than read the discourse on habits as a desire for Western modernity the chapter argues against a non-dialectical pitting of culture (Arab, non-West) against liberalism (West), which forecloses the real loss that is generated from this modern antinomy: the retreat and scarcity of politics in both liberalism and culturalism.

Keywords:   Liberalism, Culturalism, Modern Arabic, Arabic thought, Internal contradictions, Habits, Language, Western modernity, Non-dialectical, Politics

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