For over four decades, events in Palestine-Israel have provoked raging conflicts between members of British universities, giving rise to controversies around free speech, ‘extremism’, antisemitism and Islamophobia within higher education, which have been widely reported in the media and subject to repeated interventions by politicians. But why is this conflict so significant for student activists living at such a geographical distance from the region itself? And what role do emotive, polarised communications around Palestine-Israel play in the life of British academic institutions committed to the ideal of free expression? This book invites students, academics and members of the public who feel concerned with this issue to explore the sources of these visceral encounters on campus. Drawing on original ethnographic research with conflicting groups of activists, it explores what is at stake for students who are drawn into struggles around Palestine-Israel within changing university spaces facing pressures associated with neoliberalism and the ‘War on Terror’. It begins from this case study to argue that, in an increasingly globalised world that is shaped by entangled histories of the Nazi Holocaust and colonial violence, members of universities must develop creative and ethical ways of approaching questions of justice. Tragic Encounters and Ordinary Ethics curates an ethnographic imagination in response to the political tensions arising out of the continuing violence in Palestine-Israel. It invites students and academics to attend to lived experiences within our own university institutions in order to cultivate ethical forms of communication in response to conflicts of justice.
Church, State and modernity in contemporary Ireland
David Carroll Cochran
Dethroning Irish Catholicism:
Church, State and modernity
in contemporary Ireland
David Carroll Cochran
In his essay A Catholic Modernity?, the Canadian Catholic philosopher Charles
Taylor reflects on how modern secularism’s process of ‘dethroning’ Catholicism,
of gradually disentangling the Church from the dominant institutions of societies
where it long held political and social power, has paradoxically extended many of
Catholicism’s core commitments and liberated it to find a new and creative voice
Taylor is reacting to a general
with ourselves and others (Lambek
2010; Singh 2014). In these ways, the relationship between violence and ethics
will emerge as central to my study.13 In the course of my ethnographic journey
and in conversation with these thinkers, I then come to ask a key question posed
by activists and philosophers alike: how is political action and solidarity possible
that is also ethical?
In this book, I develop a claim for ethnography as a practice which can open up
creative possibilities for responding to these questions of politics and ethics. As
, and at times incoherent, claims for community
within their relationships. This focus has brought into view improvised forms of
communication and new vocabularies, exposing creative ethical openings towards
more expansive forms of political community.
This study has therefore brought Fraser’s critical theory into conversation
with an emerging body of scholarship which has taken relational ethics as an
ethnographic object (Das 2007; Lambek 2010). While normative codes and routines have long been the focus of social scientific study and ethical concerns
in that they have reopened
Tracing change and setting the context
their Studium Generale in Dublin. The only full faculty of theology (with research
resources) left standing is that of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, the national
seminary. That is not a healthy situation.
Creative theology is not simply a scholarly discipline. It must be rooted in a
living faith. Theology is faith-seeking understanding. And here the prospects are
more encouraging. For years, prayer groups have sprung up in many parishes.
Other signs of Church renewal, and they are
Conversation, friendship and democratic possibilities
’ (Das 2007: 2).
Das has shown how attending closely to language use in everyday contexts ‘pluralises the narrative task’, bringing into view aspects of human agency even in settings shaped by powerful cultural scripts (ibid.: 149). Underscoring the ways in
which powerful discourses and traditions do shape subjectivities, Das draws on
the insights of Wittgenstein and Cavell around the creative openness of language.
She pays close attention to the ways in which language is not merely used symbolically within particular relational contexts, but rather an active
to finish the discussions at
all costs before the markets opened on the following Monday. The markets were
treated as if they were a parody of a pagan deity: irascible, touchy and only to be
appeased with pledges, sacrifices and the burnt offerings of public services.
It is in this context that it is possible to argue that the greatest single threat
to the sustainability and creative contribution of religious belief in Ireland is not
some fantasmatic corruption of personal morality by hetero-normative sexual
practices but the relentless instrumentalisation of
, increased proficiency in the use of creative media to disseminate ‘digitalised history in the making’ will effectively increase the speed of cultural dissemination and actual development of future traditions. In what I have described as ‘the vernacularisation of tradition’, where the transmission of new ritual forms and traditions has been transferred into the public domain, it is likely that the previously slow-moving influences of transnational cultural flows will be largely replaced by smartphone culture, with future cultural flows disseminated through live online
Ireland’s referendum and the journey from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft
belief of its adherents, though regrettably this is resulting in destructive as much
as in creative acts, as evidenced by the increase in terrorism throughout the world
that claims to be based on the notion of jihad in the Qur’an. Similarly, the strength
of Christianity, in all its forms, can be seen to be on the wane, certainly in the
Western, developed world, as evidenced by the increasingly secularist and pluralist
cultures within which it must preach its faith.
However, Pratchett’s book has a twist: as in the manner of many religions,
there is a
Pek; Tua Di Ya Pek–Guinness; Guinness–alcohol; alcohol–Tua Di Ya Pek; Tua Di Ya Pek–Underworld; Underworld–punishment, and so forth. While this simulation is intentionally exaggerated and not intended as a serious analytical commentary on Underworld temple culture or beliefs, it provides an indication of changing associations based on the inversion of religious practices unaccompanied by a change in cosmology. In the process of popularisation, the creative portrayals of the Underworld courts and post-mortal tortures which commonly adorn purpose-built tents during