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Amélie Blom participe au 26ème congrès mondial de science politique « New Nationalisms in an Open World »

10 juillet 2021, en ligne


Congrès organisé par l’Association Internationale de Science Politique, du 10 au 15 juillet 2021.

  • Amélie Blom, maîtresse de conférences en science politique à Sciences Po Lyon, présentera une communication dans le cadre du panel Religion and Politics in South Asia intitulée « The Politics of Religious Offense in South Asian Societies ».

Résumé de l’intervention :

Religious offence has increasingly become a major cause of public controversy in contemporary societies, in the West as well as in the Global South. While these polemics often oppose, in a binary way, concepts like freedom of expression and respect for religious feelings, right to parody and insult, tolerance and fundamentalism, Enlightenment and obscurantism, this paper proposes a comparative empirical analysis of claims to be hurt in one’s religious sensitivities that goes beyond these abstract conceptual pairs in a least two ways. First, offence is not understood as an objective reality, but as the result of a performative accusation. This change of perspective makes it possible to analyze the devices at play in the process of denunciation, mobilization and sanction that together constitute what I would call, borrowing on Paul Brass’ conceptualization of communal riots in India, a “system of religious offense”. Second, and maybe more importantly, the paper focuses on the social and political dynamics of religious offence in one specific context, that of South Asian societies, India and Pakistan in particular (with a focus on blasphemy issues in Pakistan). Our focus on the politics of offence in these two countries highlights the connections between the narratives of offended actors on the one hand, and other inseparable phenomena, such as state populist politics and different forms of social stratifications related to castes, classes and gender, on the other. In other words, claims of offense need to be relocated in power relations, in minority/majority dynamics, and more precisely in what Arjun Appadurai called the “fear of small numbers” as minorities are usually the main targets of violence in both countries. Our analysis will therefore serve a dual purpose. It will first offer a new conceptualization and theorization of religious offence based on South Asian case studies and, second, it will show how the proliferation of religious polemics partakes of deeper political changes in the region.

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