måndag 31 maj 2010
söndag 30 maj 2010
Rakkaus Rekkomends (open with Spotify)
fredag 28 maj 2010
torsdag 27 maj 2010
tisdag 25 maj 2010
måndag 24 maj 2010
Much listening pleasure to all of you!
söndag 23 maj 2010
First off is PETER VAN DER VEER's article "Pim Fortuyn, Theo van Gogh, and the Politics of Tolerance in the Netherlands" (in de Vries, Hent & Sullivan, Lawrence, E. (ed:s). (2006). Political Theologies: Public Religions in a Post-Secular World. New York: Fordham University Press.) commented on in connection to Aaron Hughes book Situating Islam (sorry don't have the details at hand).
When Van Der Veer writes about Fortuyn he describes him as the classical populist. One of the reasons is that "he followed a very common trajectory from the radical left to neo-conservative" (Van Der Veer 2006:530). This is one of the first things I grew wary of in the article. The argument of postulating someone as a populist because they've found sympathetic feats in both the left and right camp, can suggest that someone indeed has a hard time making their mind up regarding what they believe in. It can however also suggest that the understanding of left and right as arch enemies is not always the best way to view the whole of politics.
Fortuyn was radically sceptic towards immigrants, and especially muslims whom he considered "backwards". Normally this is an argument that is percieved as far from the left. However, in Sweden, the work immigration came to a halt because of the union movement (a movement siutated to the left, due to its connection of the working class) in Sweden. Furthermore, even though the left and right in Sweden (which is not the left and right that is described in the article, but again there are probably likenesses) have different policies on immigration as a whole - the idea that politics is something that should remain separated from religion and religious claims is an overarching idea that Swedish politicians seem to have bought wholesale. Also, there are plenty of examples of irreligious sentiments to the left in politics, especially in the left's history. Marxism, for instance, has never been known for its generous attitude towards religious people. It's more been one of: sure, be religious, but the reasonable thing in the end is off course to become fully attached to the idea of strict materialism and thereby embrace atheism.
So, back to Fortuyn. Another interesting feat that separates him from most usual "right wing"-men, is the fact that he was gay. And not in a subdued closet type way; he used it as a means of breathing flamboyant life into what he described as dull dutch politics. The "purple" coalition that ruled the Netherlands at the time was also consensus-based in their mode of politics, and didn't care much for bringin passions into the political realm. Chantal Mouffe has rightly pointed out in her "On the political" and also in her contribution in the same book (de Vries & Sullivan) that these passions are crucial in order for the political to function properly. So that someone moved away from the dulled consensus and brought in both a flamboyant alternative lifestyle AND passion, have to count for something more than being described as just your "usual populist".
So what does it mean that Fortuyn was gay? For one, his sexual identity enabled him to compare a progressive sexual politics against (elements in) the Islamic traditions (which he no doubt bundled together as The Islamic Tradition). He then went on to offer the classical easy sollution of "the immigrants are the problem, if we can just get rid of them and their backwardness everything will be fine" (although this everything is typically never defined, because as you start picking it apart it always becomes evident how little bearing on society its minority groups have in many cases). So yes, Fortuyn gave in to easy - too easy - sollutions (meaning no sollution at all in praxis). This, however does not make all his criticism null and void.
In Sweden this year there was quite a debacle around Sveriges Unga Muslimer/Sweden's Young Muslims' (SUM) annual youth conference (the one I attended for my field work in 2009). The reason was that SUM had invited Abdullah Hakim Quick - a speaker that had previously made antigay remarks. RFSL (NGO protecting gay rights) opted for a cancellation of SUM's state funding and in the end SUM choose to withdraw their invitation to said speaker (although they maintained that he was never intended to speak on that topic to start with). Even though SUM withdrew the invitation to Hakim Quick, my fieldwork showed that many of the young muslim were opposed to the idea of allowing gay couples to marry. This is interesting, since this is one minority group who want their rights to be protected, at the same time as members of the group feel hesitant to extend rights to another minority community.
Furthermore, the sentiments expressed in my survey shows that although voting for parties on the left, these young muslims also expressed some conservative sentiments, regarding questions of family and morality. This is another interesting example of how the left-right dicotomy is not functional in order to understand the voters. If we were to apply Van Der Veer's terminology; are these muslims then also "populists"? They have sympathy with questions both to the left and right, but only for the left (and green) parties in Sweden. How do we understand that, from Van Der Veer's proposed perspective? Aaron Hughes proposes that it is not the place of the scholar to be a "cheerleader" of religion. When we do feel the need for it, we need to be able to "do science" in a critical way, where we feel that routing for, or being apologetic, or criticizing a certain mode of religious behavior is not a stance we need to take a priori. Instead we must allow ourselves to get to grips with both problematic and encouraging ways in which religion (and its different parts) operate.
We may for instance acknowledge that even Fortuyn - populist or no - may have points in his argument. My point with this argument is that he poses one interesting question within his argument (which on the whole, however, faulters in my eyes). This question also cuts through the division of politics into left and right, but at the same time proposes that we need to take passions (as Mouffe propose) into politics, in order for them to function. The interesting question, that remains to be answered then, is off course what passions? I for one argue for the legitimacy of religious passions, making their way into the political, not to dominate the discourse, but to be one of the many parts of people's lives which also needs to be reflected in representative politics. Anything less than full representation of (the) people, fails to be a representation.