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Mentality, fundamentality, and the colonial secular

or how real is real estate?

Pamela Klassen

pp. 175-194

What is a mentality, and when does it become a fundamentality? Technically speaking, these two words may not be etymologically linked, but their overlap is instructive for those pondering the meanings and effects of the "secular'. A language of mentalities and imaginaries infuses writing about both fundamentalism and the secular. While scholars have often characterized a fundamentalist "mindset' as one lacking in self-reflexivity or openness to democratic deliberation, so, too, have they turned to a language of mentality and related concepts — sensibilities, imaginaries, world views — as the dominant frame for explaining what the secular is, and how its power works (Marty, 1994; Derrida and Habermas, 2004; Taylor, 2007). Susan Harding, writing specifically of mid-twentieth-century US "secularity' in its relation to "fundamentalism', described the "modern secular imaginary' as a "hegemonic social mentality, a sensibility and code of etiquette' (Harding, 2009: 1283). Sociologist Jose Casanova offers a more precise definition, distinguishing the secular as a "modern, epistemic category' from secularization as a social and historical process that worked to define and set apart "religion' within civic and political institutions. Secularism, in turn, he described as a world view or ideology that can be both a principle of statecraft and a broader, taken-for-granted, modern doxa (Casanova, 2009).

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9781137401144_10

Full citation:

Klassen, P. (2014)., Mentality, fundamentality, and the colonial secular: or how real is real estate?, in R. Braidotti, B. Blaagaard, T. De Graauw & E. Midden (eds.), Transformations of religion and the public sphere, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 175-194.

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