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Interreligious Learning, Ricoeur, and the Problem of Testimonial and Hermeneutical Injustice

Abstract

Ricoeur’s philosophy of religion as well as his suggestion that we may consider interreligious dialogue as a specific form of linguistic hospitality has inspired many to think through the challenges of interfaith learning in a post-secular age. I am one of those scholars who have found Ricoeur a particularly helpful conversation partner as I sought to create a nonviolent and transformative space of encounter in my interreligious classroom. In this article, I elaborate on how my lived experiences as an interreligious educator have made me wonder if Ricoeur’s philosophy of religion and his plea for interreligious hospitality are not actually limiting the critical potential of interreligious education. Ricoeur’s interreligious hermeneutics strongly resonates with a modern (Protestant) understanding of religion and its implicit, normative distinction between good (mature) and bad (immature) religiosity, which to this day belongs to the sociopolitical imagination of the majority in most Western European countries (this is certainly true for the Netherlands). It has been my pedagogical experience that this distinction between good and bad religion contributes to and reinforces testimonial and hermeneutical injustice in my classroom, which results in the marginalization of some of my students, especially those whose religious practice does not fit the understanding of what religion ought to be.

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Liberal Citizenship and the Hermeneutics of Public Dialogue: A Rawlsian Perspective

Abstract

Focusing on the topic of public dialogue between religiously theistic, quasi-religious, atheistic, and non-religious citizens in a liberal democracy, this paper develops a practical strategy of dialogue in the wake of Rawls’ Political Liberalism (1993). To set the stage for a rereading of Rawls, the chief points of liberal citizenship are outlined in critical dialogue with recent literature that urges citizens to abandon liberalism. While metaphysics, religious norms, and moral visions of the good are not bracketed by liberal regimes, it is true that liberal states nonetheless attempt to remain neutral in matters of religion and worship. This may yield many worldviews incommensurable with each other. Liberalism, then, as a political order, involves a pluralism of worldviews, some religious and some not. A hermeneutics of public dialogue can enable citizens to be reconciled with, rather than escape, the pluralism born of liberalism. I suggest the point of departure for such a hermeneutic lies in the vocabulary of Rawlsian “overlapping consensus.” Reconsidered in this light, overlapping consensus can open up the prospect of dialogue among citizenry in the public square in a manner that facilitates agreement and cooperation. This is due to the fact that overlapping consensus contrasts with the idea that when one converges on a policy, one must always do so for the same reason or theoretical justification. The paper concludes with the structure of a four-way dialogue that may result from the application of this hermeneutic.

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Disputes Between the National States and Ethnic Identities with the Basque Example

Abstract

Ethnicity in the historical process has been the main subject of political, economic, military and geographical change. Ethnicity, which was identical to the identity of tribes and clans before empires formed the basis of different phenomena in multi-ethnic national states. In this context, terms such as nation, race, ethnic minority, national minority etc. are used synonymously. The international structure formed aft er the collapse of the bipolar system. Concepts such as ethnic, ethnic group, minority, national minority, ethnic minority, nation, nation-state, ethnic-state, ethnic problems, ethnic discrimination have been brought to the agenda again and these concepts’ qualities and meanings have started to be reconsidered by scholars.

Ethnic issues not only affect internal politics but also external and international politics for countries which have ethnic groups in their society. Therefore, these effects are causing the questioning of the system of national-states which underlies the international system.

The Basque problem is characterised by the nationalist movements of the Basque society which is struggling for independence in Spain from the past to the present (the Basque society has been struggling for independence in Spain since 17th century) or who are working hard to achieve their special status. From the demands for privileges of the Basque separatist movement in Spain, the Basque problem is of great importance for the current Spanish political system.

In order to solve the problem, it is necessary to examine the mutual demands and solutions of Spain and the Basque Country. From this point of view, the Spanish Administration should be directed towards moderate policies and take into account the conditions of the region. The constitution must also guarantee individual and cultural rights. This study aims to observe the problems between the Basques and Spain historically and to understand the Basque ethnic phenomenon better.

Open access
Essay on Politica (Politics and Policy) Once Again

Abstract

Though the term “policy” has already been discussed extensively before, it appears to be in need of a critical review in meaning and context. In this essay, the criticism stems from the term “policy of the law”, which was introduced into the political science literature over 120 years ago by Leon Petrażycki, the outstanding creator of psychological theory of the law and the only world-known Polish lawyer. The term itself is false and incorrect as it’s equal to the term “policy of the policy”. Law is a political phenomenon cocreating policy. In addition, the concept of policy of the law is characterised by idealism bordering on naivety. Because of the place of L. Petrażycki in Polish tradition of the theory of law, references to his concept of policy of the law are made constantly in an attempt to apply this concept in scientific and practical considerations. It is time to leave it to the domain of history of legal theory.

Another criticism was brought about by the title of the third chapter of Polish Energy Law Act — “Energy Policy”. This entire act and a number of other legal acts regulating the acquisition of energy sources and energy management comprise energy policy. The energy policy also includes various types of programs, actions and decisions of the participants of energy policy. The criticism of the incompetent use of the term “energy policy” is an opportunity to stress the role of policy in the process of meeting human needs.

Thirdly, the term “policy” is determined by discussing an element of its structure: political thought. The essay presents the role of political thought in relation to economy, culture, independence, systems and other domains of human activity. The understanding of political thought as a reflection on policy or views on policy is questioned here. Political thought is not a reflection about the policy. Instead, political thought is a political decision which cocreates policy. It is a postulative decision resulting from scientific or common reflection on policy.

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Fake News as a Tool of Populism in Turkey: The Pastor Andrew Brunson Case

Abstract

This study examines how populist politicians made sense of the issue of fake news. They generally consider fake news as a valuable propaganda tool for their political interests. According to the Reuters Digital News Report in 2018, Turkey ranks first on the list of countries where people complain about completely made-up stories. The study researched how fake news is helping facilitate the rise of populism in Turkey. There is plenty of fake news aired by pro-government media. Therefore, the Turkish government is emerging as a suspect behind the fake news cycle. The fact is that most of the fake news is published for the benefit of the government. Research shows that, paradoxically, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is regarded as one of the most important populist politicians in the world. These two different indicators can be valuable data in revealing the relationship between fake news and populist politicians. The aim of this paper is to consider the significance of this apparent relationship between fake news and President Erdogan. In order to do this, a critical discourse analysis method was based on the fake news about the pastor Brunson case, because Turkish readers came across a huge amount of fake news regarding his case in pro-government media.

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In the EU and NATO but Close to Russia — Post-Crimea Attitudes in Bulgaria and Hungary

Abstract

This article focuses on attitudes towards Russia in Bulgaria and Hungary — two EU and NATO countries with special relations to Russia — in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and military intervention in support of separatists in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine in 2014 and onwards. We begin by putting the relations to Russia in a historical perspective. We then set out to account for support for Russia with the help of survey data from the Post-Crimea Barometer (2015) — a unique survey focusing on geopolitical orientation (East versus West) and attitudes towards Russia in Latvia, Hungary and Bulgaria in a post-Crimea setting. Latvia is a special case because of its large Russian minority population; we therefore confine our comparison to Bulgaria and Hungary. The findings suggest that long-term attachment to Russia is decisive in Bulgaria. In Hungary, long-term attachment to Russia is important, but not sufficient to account for post-Crimea attitudes towards Russia.

Open access
Resisting Gender Recognition in Poland: A Process of Social Exclusion

Abstract

This paper demonstrates that in Poland, a democratic state emphasizing the rule of law and equality under the law, we are dealing with the phenomenon of social (through legal) exclusion of transgender citizens. The paper presents the draft Act on Gender Recognition vetoed by the President of the Republic of Poland and the controversy associated with this fact. In addition, the consequences of the current legal status of transgender people in Poland, such as chronic and humiliating court proceedings and limited access to the health care system, have been identified. The paper attempts to demonstrate the indispensability of legislation in the field of gender recognition for the dignified, equitable social functioning of people with mental and biological gender incompatibility.

Open access