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Contemporary Religiosity and the Absence of Solidarity With Those in Need

Abstract

The article uses an adapted version of the multidimensional theory of religion to explore changes in contemporary religiosity in Central Europe, with a special focus on the Czech Republic. It asks whether there are any possible connections between the current absence of welcome of refugees, and the fact that the dominant religiosity that replaced the secularist ideology despises religious dogmas and institutions. It asks how people believing in “something”, who do not wish to define that “something” or share its vision with others, can make an informed and healthy judgment and make themselves capable of solidarity with others. The final part of the article returns to the possibilities of strengthening precisely those dimensions of religion that have been downplayed, yet without unrealistic expectations that people would move back to the form of religiosity their parents, but more often already their great-grandparents, left behind.

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How to Respond to Conflicts Over Value Pluralism?

Abstract

This paper starts with arguing that the main reason why value pluralism has become conflictual is that it challenges people’s socio-cultural identity. The next section gives a summary of recent sociological research on socio-cultural tensions and conflicts in the Netherlands and Europe. They are closely linked to “globalization issues,” such as cosmopolitism, immigration, and cultural integration. This shows that the prediction of the modernization theory, according to which substantial socio-cultural values would be replaced by a universalist, procedural ethics, has not come true. The third section discusses the philosophical reasons of the potentially conflictual character of today’s value pluralism: the fragility of socio-cultural identity, the spread of the culture of expressive individualism and the ethics of authenticity, and the influence of the (politics of) recognition of socio-cultural differences. The fourth section discusses two philosophical responses to the conflictual character of value pluralism. First, there is Taylor’s plea for a broadening of our socio-cultural horizon and a transformation of our common standards of (value-)judgments, based on his idea of a fusion of cultural horizons. In spite of its obvious merits, Taylor underestimates the degree of cultural distance that characterizes many instances of value pluralism. Second, there is an idea of cultural hospitality, which is an application of Ricoeur’s idea of linguistic hospitality to the cultural sphere. It is more modest than Taylor’s proposal, since it recognizes the unbridgeable gap that separates different cultures and their values. Another even more modest suggestion to diminish the conflictual character of value pluralism is the virtue of tolerance, which combines the idea that I have good reasons for my value attachments with the recognition that my values are not the completion of the ideal of human existence.

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The Challenge of Postsecularism

Abstract

Since September 11 attacks on World Trade Center, the word “postsecularism” became a kind of key to explain the existing tension between the secular and “indifferent toward religion” Western world, and the growing religious fundamentalism. However, the existence of conflict between secular and religious worldviews and the attempts to overcome it are not new. The aim of my paper is to present a few examples of successful endeavors of worldviews exchanges between believers and nonbelievers. But, first, a definition of postsecularism will be suggested together with some critical reflection on the concept of religion. I will also discuss some inspiring ideas and theories of postsecularism from the last decade. I would like to suggest a comprehension of postsecularism as a kind of pluralism.

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Cultural Pluralism and Epistemic Injustice

Abstract

For liberalism, values such as respect, reciprocity, and tolerance should frame cultural encounters in multicultural societies. However, it is easy to disregard that power differences and political domination also influence the cultural sphere and the relations between cultural groups. In this essay, I focus on some challenges for cultural pluralism. In relation to Indian political theorist Rajeev Bhargava, I discuss the meaning of cultural domination and epistemic injustice and their historical and moral implications. Bhargava argued that as a consequence of colonialism, “indigenous cultures” were inferiorized, marginalized, and anonymized. Although cultures are often changing due to external influences, I argue that epistemic injustice implies that a culture is forced to subjection, disrespected, and considered as inferior and that it threatens the dominated people’s epistemic framework, collective identity, and existential security. Finally, I refer to John Rawls’s theory of political liberalism as a constructive approach to avoid parochialism and Western cultural domination.

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Pluralism and Conflict: The Debate about “Russian Values” and Politics of Identity

Abstract

This article addresses the issue of the plurality of Russian identities. The role of the “otherness” (as embodied by Catholicism) in Russian identity is addressed. The stereotype idea of the two traditionally opposed identities, those of elite and common people is corrected by suggesting a third Russian identity, shaped by the followers of the Old Belief after the split of the Russian Church. In analyzing this identity, one should consider not only the intertwined political and religious dimensions of the Russian identity but also its historical dimension. The Old Believers, owing to their worldview and way of thought, gave rise to a new anthropological figure which contrasts with the stereotyped image of the Russian grounded in the history of serfdom and rural community. This new type of Russian identity is associated with democratic governance, rigorous way of life, higher rationality, and dynamic and successful economic activity. Nevertheless, the history of the Russian Raskol reveals a latent conflict inherent in the Russian past and present and underlying Russian identities. Unlike the religious wars in Europe, this conflict received no resolution; instead, it has been repressed and therefore keeps latently affecting the Russian present. Present-day Russia should draw inspiration in the religious and political heritage of the Old Believers, if the conflict is to be resolved.

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Authorial Self and Modernity as Reflected in Diaries and Memoirs. Three 19th-Century Hungarian Case Studies

Abstract

The role of the diaries and memoirs in the process of the conscious self-reflection and their contribution to the emergence of modern individual personalities are well-known facts of the intellectual history. The present paper intends to analyze a special form of the creation of modern individual character; it is the self-creation of the writer as a conscious personality, often with a clearly formulated opinion about her/his own social role. There will be offered several examples from the 19th-century history of the Hungarian intelligentsia. This period is more or less identical with the modernization of the “cultural industry” in Hungary, dominated by the periodicals with their deadlines, fixed lengths of the articles, and professional editing houses on the one hand and the cultural nation building on the other. Concerning the possible social and cultural role of the intelligentsia, it is the moment of the birth of a new type, so-called public intellectual. I will focus on three written sources, a diary of a Calvinist student of theology, Péter (Litkei) Tóth, the memoirs of an influential public intellectual, Gusztáv Szontagh, and a belletristic printed diary of a young intellectual, János Asbóth.

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Burghers, Intellectuals, and Gentries. The Utopia of Alternative Modernization in the Interwar Hungarian Populist Movement: László Németh, Ferenc Erdei, and István Bibó

Abstract

The paper’s aim is a critical reconstruction concerning the ideas of the most renowned representatives of the Hungarian Popular Movement: László Németh, Ferenc Erdei, and István Bibó. It contextualizes the notion of “populism”, which has semantically become overburdened up to now: it means everything and nothing. The Hungarian Populist Movement must be interpreted in the interwar Central-Eastern European and Hungarian contexts. The notion of dual society was a catchword for the abovementioned thinkers; according to its basic tenet, in Hungarian society, there is a symbiosis of modern and premodern segments. The demand for emancipation of the peasantry as a common denominator was frequently connected with the idea of alternative modernization; it was imagined as an autochthonous development different from the Western European models.

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The Descendants of Former Aristocratic Families in Hungary at the Turn of the 21st Century

Abstract

Historical and social historical researches have extensively explored the social role and history of the Hungarian nobility and aristocracy, but the present situation of the descendants of the former traditional élite has been overlooked by contemporary sociological studies. The aim of this paper is to fill this gap by providing a comprehensive picture concerning the young descendants of the Hungarian aristocratic families living in Hungary at the turn of the 21st century. The results confirm that the examined group has a very good chance of reaching a higher status within the society despite all the disadvantages their parents and grandparents suffered during the communist era. In other words, they possess all socio-demographic factors which make a higher position likely. This advantageous socio-demographic position is interacting with the values and goals transmitted in family upbringing, namely acquiring a diploma and the knowledge of foreign languages. The religious, Christian, and family-centric values also played a considerable role in their education. Among the young descendants of the former aristocratic families, we can distinguish a group which creates a strong informal network and has preserved its special aristocratic identity and filled it with a renewed content.

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Open access