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On the Public Sphere, Deliberation, Journalism and Dignity
Seyla Benhabib interviewed by Karin Wahl-Jorgensen
“We are facing a generation who is getting all its information online. The consequence is that one’s points of reference are so multiple that they may not intersect and a common world may not emerge. But fragmentation can also bring effervescence – says Seyla Benhabib, philosopher and Professor of political science and philosophy at Yale - . One medium that is in great crisis is television. I would like to see a citizens’ forum, rather than these continuously self-referential talking heads and so-called experts. We extend the boundaries of our sympathy by understanding the conditions of others who may be radically different than us – she concludes – At its best journalism does this; it extends your vision of the world by making you see the world through the eyes of the others.”
Can Islam Accommodate Democracy Or Democracy Accommodate Islam?
Benjamin R. Barber
It is absurd to think that Islam cannot accommodate democracy or that democracy cannot accommodate Islam. It is not Islam per se, but religion tout court that stands in some tension with secularism and with democracy – a tension that is healthy rather than unhealthy in a free society. Like Christianity and other religions, Islam is a religion practiced in many cultures and societies, sectarian, stratified, schismatic and pluralistic. To the degree Islam is fundamentalist, so is religion in many places, because in our secular age religion is under siege and fundamentalism is above all a reaction to religion under siege.
A “post-secular” society – what does that mean?
I have thus far taken the position of a sociological observer in trying to answer the question of why we can term secularized societies yet “post-secular”. In these societies, religion maintains lays claim to a public influence and relevance significance, while the secularistic certainty is losing ground that religion will disappear worldwide in the course of accelerated modernization is losing ground. Above all, three overlapping phenomena converge to create the impression of a worldwide ‘resurgence of religion’: the missionary expansion, a fundamentalist radicalization, and the political instrumentalization of the potential for violence innate in many of the world religions.
Multiculturalism and liberal democracy
Four questions to Will Kymlicka
Liberal values can be twisted to justify limiting civil rights, warns Will Kymlicka in interview. Nevertheless, religious law may not replace the civil code. "The same forces that support ethnic politics within liberal democracy also operate over time to channel it in peaceful and democratic ways."
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