On Religion and Politics

On Religion and Politics

Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conferences, Vol. XIII
IWM, Vienna 2004 [Published on the Web]

Edited by: Carla Lovett and Patrick Kernahan

Contributions by: Dobrochna Bach-Golecka, Colin Heydt, Piki Ish-Shalom, Slava Jakelic, Patrick Kernahan, Carla Lovett, Meike Schmidt-Gleim

Introduction

Emerging from the dimly lit U-Bahn beneath Stephansplatz in the heart of Vienna’s Old City into the bright sunshine of the plaza above, one is immediately confronted with contrasts that have much more to them than shades of light. Indeed, at every turn remains of the city’s glorious imperial past lie amidst the bourgeois hustle and bustle of modern day life. One first spots the beautiful thirteenth century Stephansdom, the very soul of the city, standing grandly in the middle of the square despite the intrusion of the ten year old Haas Haus, a modern asymmetrical structure of glass and marble popular with tourists but scorned by locals. And nearby, k.-und-k. boutiques with long traditions of royal service sit poised among the high-end shops of the nouveau riche (Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, etc.). The feeling of schizophrenia that one might sense from this description is really not limited to the architecture, music or commerce of the city, but rather permeates the entire Viennese world view....
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The Meaning of Law: Plato’s Minos

In a recent book devoted to the history of phenomenology, Dermot Moran argues that genuine phenomenology, conceived of as “a science of the essential structures of pure consciousness with its own distinctive method”, begins with the work of Edmund Husserl. Husserl’s concern was to create a science of pure consciousness, a science free of any psychological, scientific or metaphysical presuppositions, a science of appearances as appearances, as they appear to us, a logos [reasoning] about the phainomena [phenomena, appearances] of human experience. (...) Now, my purpose in this paper is not to provide a complete account of the relationship between the phenomenological movement and Plato. Rather, I hope that this short discussion will help to make my approach to Plato’s dialogues intelligible to an audience with some familiarity with the twentienth-century phenomenological tradition.
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Perfection and Immortatlity: The Aesthetic Turn in Mill’s Ethic

Why should we be interested in Mill’s aesthetic theory? (...) Nevertheless, Mill considers aesthetics with his characteristic seriousness and thoughtfulness, and this gives his positions an intrinsic interest. More important perhaps are the insights that his views on aesthetics can offer for understanding his ethical theory, which frequently differentiates itself from Bentham’s and from others through the striking use of aesthetic conceptualizations of human life – a call to attend to our lives as works of art and to character and action in terms of their beauty and ugliness. We cannot properly engage Mill’s ethical views without seeing how his aesthetics contextualize them. My hope is that such an investigation will also facilitate an appreciation of the philosophical content and import of an incorporation of the aesthetic into the ethical.
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‘Six Days You Shall Labor’: Priest and Parish in Working Class Vienna, 1875-1914

The glorious fin-de-siècle days of the Habsburg Monarchy were never more in evidence than in the magnificent capital of Vienna during the late 19th century. The well-chronicled Ringstrasse
world of Johann Strauss, Sigmund Freud, Gustav Klimt, and Otto Wagner provided a fairy tale existence for Austria’s aristocracy and upper middle classes. However, in Vienna’s poorer districts, members of the industrial working class were living a nightmare....

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The Role of Theoretical Concepts in Forming American Foreign Policy: The Case of Rostow, The Modernization Theory, and the Alliance For Progress

This paper looks at the complex relations that exist between ideology, international relations theories and the world of practice. It will focus on the role of theoretical concepts in forming American foreign policy. In other words, it asks whether theoreticians and theories act as agents in the political arena, and if so, what are the consequences of this agency. This issue is vast, complex, and even problematic to some extent. It is problematic because, in part, it questions the ability of the social sciences to be objective. This paper attempts to show that theoretical concepts have a political role to play in the field of foreign affairs, and that to some a degree they are actors in the grand theater of international relations. As such, they should not be considered outside observers, which is a necessary precondition to objectivity...
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Enjoy Democracy

Commenting on the events after the fall of the Berlin Wall Slavoj Zizek asked, “Why has the West been so fascinated by the events in Eastern Europe (after the collapse of the communist system)?” Not expecting an answer by anyone else that would satisfy him, he gave one himself. “What fascinated the Western gaze was the reinvention of democracy.... ...it seemed as if democracy had been rediscovered in its entire newness and freshness. The real object of this fascination of the West is the gaze, the presumably naïve gaze, with which Eastern Europe stares at the West, fascinated by its democracy.”
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Considering the Problem of Religion and Collective Identity: Catholicism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia

The origins of collectivistic religions in a number of former communist countries have commonly been traced to the post-communist revival of nationalism. Contrasting the Roman Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia, I will argue that the elucidation of the collectivistic features of religion in some ex-communist societies may not be attained by addressing their similarities but rather their differences; specifically, by asking why collectivistic traits characterize religions in some and not in all post-communist societies. The latter demands a shift in perspective – a transfer of analytical focus from the relationship between nationalism and religion, to the place of religion in the general problem of collective identification...
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Some Remarks on the Right to Democratic Governance

Democracy has been said to represent the most suitable contemporary system of government. While there exists a vast lite rature exploring the benefits of a democratic form of government within political science, the debate on democracy in international law had been started only recently. This latter discussion began with the provocative article by Thomas Franck claiming the emergence of a right to democratic governance in international law. Franck rooted the democratic entitlement in three related sets of emerging norms: self-determination, freedom of expression focusing at maintaining an open marketplace of ideas, and a right to free and open elections.
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