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Resentment and religion - modern dialogue between Europe and Non-Europe

Ressentiment und Religion - der moderne Dialog zwischen Europa und Nicht-Europa
[conference paper]

Stauth, Georg

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Corporate Editor Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS)
Abstract "The concept of resentment is inherently linked to the cultural criticism of Europe and the West. By way of this cultural criticism and affirmative reaction to it, the syndromes of resentment are widespread in non-European cultures. Thus resentment is also linked to the often diverse multiple formulations of the cultural programs of modernity. The conventional usage of the term would suggest that resentment means a sort of envy of the socially and culturally deprived or a psychological reactive attitude of the unjustly treated who are - morally or factually - deprived to act for revenge and justice. However, in Nietzsche's genealogy of morals, we are informed that Christian altruism and generalised morals of love produce a sort of self-distancing disinterestedness, a general value orientation which in itself remains non-interested in the fate of values in general and in the fate of the other in specific. For Nietzsche, it were priests and other office holders who with their own distancing attitude were - in the process of civilizational constitution of Europe - strongly involved in featuring the general laws of the 'morality of resentment' (i. e. the religious and intellectual formulations of restraint against immediate revengeful action) and in making it the most ambiguous and powerful cultural tool ('Kulturwerkzeug') in the construction of modernity. Since Max Weber the social philosophy of modernity and modernization was - in an affirmative turn - to a large extent engaged in developing science and rationality, as non-resentful components of modern self-construction, professionalism and individualism. The point is that the constitution and reconstitution of the cultural and institutional programs of modernity are as a whole fossils of the inherent struggle to come to grips with 'resentment' and the challenges of the cultural criticism of modernity. Moreover, and following this statement, the essential point is that modern dialogue - in as far as it is determined by the logic to overcome or even to suppress the 'Kulturkritik' on which it was originally built - remains at large inapt to understand the constitution and reconstitution of the non-modern, the non-European and the non-western in contemporary cross-civilizational exchange. I will develop this line of argument by looking closer to the conditions and potentials of dialogue between Muslims and Europeans in the contemporary scene which is so strongly marked by the 'resurgence' of religion and the new modes in which religious components enter or are re-entering today the cultural and political arenas of modernity." (author's abstract)
Keywords religion; intercultural comparison; hate; emotionality; stereotype; xenophobia; Europe; Nietzsche, F.; Weber, M.; modernity; Muslim; Islam; cultural criticism; Kulturkampf; cultural imperialism; Western world
Classification Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Art, Sociology of Literature; Sociology of Religion
Method descriptive study; basic research
Collection Title Soziale Ungleichheit, kulturelle Unterschiede: Verhandlungen des 32. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in München. Teilbd. 1 und 2
Editor Rehberg, Karl-Siegbert
Conference 32. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie "Soziale Ungleichheit - kulturelle Unterschiede". München, 2004
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Publisher Campus Verl.
City Frankfurt am Main
Page/Pages p. 247-259
ISBN 3-593-37887-6
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications