THE CHARLES STRONG LECTURE 2015 Two Disconnected Discourses of Disconnection: Anti-West and Anti-Islamic Discourses
Keywords:Religious Conflict, Islamophobia, Anti-west, narratives, ‘othering’, cui bono
AbstractNarratives like paradigms offer explanations of some aspect of life which are largely self-contained, self-sustaining, self-validating and impervious to disconfirming evidence. Anti-Islam discourses in the West and Anti-Western discourses among Muslims are two such discourses. That such discourses can legitimate violence is clearly evident in the rhetoric, actions and rationales given for violence among such groups as the Islamic State, Boko Haram, The Lord’s Liberation Army, The Spanish Inquisition, and Anti-Islamic movements in Europe and other parts of the West. Narratives of difference, of negative disconnection from some ‘other’ exist for centuries with minor variation as there is no real contact between those maintaining them. Real encounters would lead to disconfirmation while violent acts by some members of the ‘other’ group are taken as proof that the stereotypes held about them are true. In each age it must be asked, ‘Who Benefits?’
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