Abdelwahab Meddeb
Post-foundational Islam
in Secularism, Islam and public intellectuals in contemporary France
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This chapter examines the published works of Abdelwahab Meddeb. Of specific significance is Meddeb’s foregrounding of a language of Islamic secularism, which can be interpreted as an attempt to transform perceptions of Islam and thus to intervene in the symbolic power relations between the Republican state and France’s Muslim citizens. This chapter also poses questions about the consequences of deploying certain forms of discursive agency for secular Muslim intellectuals. What are the outcomes of their interventions in the public arena? What are the possible effets pervers (unintended consequences) of their interventions, if any? It is arguable that the work of Meddeb embodies most explicitly some of the tensions and paradoxes that can emerge when intellectuals speak for and on behalf of a ‘minority community’, or if we want to avoid that problematic term due to its suggestion of a hermetic and homogenous group, on behalf of a religious/cultural minority population.

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