Francosphères

The modulus of elasticity

Islam, art and populism in postcolonial, securitized Europe

Francosphères (2018), 7, (2), 147–162.

Abstract

Current public and political interactions are becoming increasingly populist, illustrating the great success of an approach that creates the belief that majority populations in Europe and USA are in fact beleaguered, as if they are a minority threatened by those considered allochthonous. People’s democratic agency is thereby silenced and weakened. The Institut des Cultures d’Islam (ICI) deflates populism’s boast by bringing individuals, ideas, and artefacts together in a local setting to deconstruct these generalities by being together. The methodology of this paper is to use philosophy, literary analysis, social theory, and physics to analyse the ICI as the same breathed space in which many interpersonal ruptures can be made possible, recognized as such, and then averted. There are ambiguities of difference and of the positive tensions that can be created by bringing culte (worship) and culture (art) together. This article proposes that the modulus, the measure of (human) rigidity (and flexibility), can be used to analyse what happens at the ICI and to consider how outsider ‘experts’ can both approach this space and also accept that their grasp of what is at stake within it will remain partial.

Cet article aborde l’influence du populisme dans le discours politique et souligne l’affaiblissement de la volonté générale qui en résulte. Il propose ensuite de considérer le travail de l’Institut des cultures d’Islam (ICI) sous l’angle des difficultés d’interaction qu’il provoque, notamment dans le rapport entre ‘culte’ et ‘culture’, afin de souligner la nécessité de ces difficultés pour transformer des situations de rupture potentielle en négociation des possibles. On passe ainsi d’un modulus de rupture, concept clé de l’analyse, à un modulus d’élasticité.

The modulus of elasticity

Islam, art and populism in postcolonial, securitized Europe

Abstract

Current public and political interactions are becoming increasingly populist, illustrating the great success of an approach that creates the belief that majority populations in Europe and USA are in fact beleaguered, as if they are a minority threatened by those considered allochthonous. People’s democratic agency is thereby silenced and weakened. The Institut des Cultures d’Islam (ICI) deflates populism’s boast by bringing individuals, ideas, and artefacts together in a local setting to deconstruct these generalities by being together. The methodology of this paper is to use philosophy, literary analysis, social theory, and physics to analyse the ICI as the same breathed space in which many interpersonal ruptures can be made possible, recognized as such, and then averted. There are ambiguities of difference and of the positive tensions that can be created by bringing culte (worship) and culture (art) together. This article proposes that the modulus, the measure of (human) rigidity (and flexibility), can be used to analyse what happens at the ICI and to consider how outsider ‘experts’ can both approach this space and also accept that their grasp of what is at stake within it will remain partial.

Cet article aborde l’influence du populisme dans le discours politique et souligne l’affaiblissement de la volonté générale qui en résulte. Il propose ensuite de considérer le travail de l’Institut des cultures d’Islam (ICI) sous l’angle des difficultés d’interaction qu’il provoque, notamment dans le rapport entre ‘culte’ et ‘culture’, afin de souligner la nécessité de ces difficultés pour transformer des situations de rupture potentielle en négociation des possibles. On passe ainsi d’un modulus de rupture, concept clé de l’analyse, à un modulus d’élasticité.


Details

Author details

Scott-Baumann, Alison