America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.17 All three
strains of conservative Protestantism have a long-standing following in
Northern Ireland and show no signs of secularising.
Thirty-two per cent of the population in Northern Ireland identify as
fundamentalist, evangelical or born-again – or as a combination of
these.18 There is some evidence that their numbers are growing, although
it is probably safer to say that numbers do not seem to be declining.19
There are indications that conservative Protestant Churches are picking
up members at the expense of main
Identity is often regarded as something that is possessed by individuals, states, and other agents. In this edited collection, identity is explored across a range of approaches and under-explored case studies with a view to making visible its fractured, contingent, and dynamic features. The book brings together themes of belonging and exclusion, identity formation and fragmentation. It also examines how identity functions in discourse, and the effects it produces, both materially and in ideational terms. Taking in case studies from Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, the various chapters interrogate identity through formal governing mechanisms, popular culture and place. These studies demonstrate the complex and fluid nature of identity and identity practices, as well as implications for theorising identity.
in the past ten to fifteen years have examined the contemporary transformations of Irish society from various angles, and several authors
have focused on their impact on perceptions of collective identity, notably on
the place of religion in these new perceptions.1 Some writers have developed or
questioned the notion of a ‘post-Christian’ Ireland.2 Among the more striking
social phenomena, we can include the process of relative secularisation that
has taken place since the 1960s, along with a wider socio-cultural and religious diversification that was accelerated
when supported by the claim that God rewards sincerity (as opposed to
Though the decline of Christianity has taken away its original
foundation, responsibility to a Creator, the secularisation experienced by
most societies has actually entrenched the core assumption, for the tendency
to abandon dogmatic religion has been in the name of the value of working
out one’s own morality. Both Christianity
transcendence, which he separates strictly from religious transcendence.
While Luhmann concentrates the experience of transcendence in one world
of meaning, namely religion, thus implicitly excluding other social
spheres, Derrida's deconstructive thought liberates it from this
isolation and brings back the disquieting awareness of transcendence
into the highly rationalised and secularised worlds of the economy, of
observance in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; and, though
many German liberals were often staunchly anti-clerical, nowhere was
the process of secularisation more advanced than in the working-class
districts of Germany’s large industrial cities, where they were Protestant.
In 1900, 14 per cent of Protestant Berliners took communion but the
evidence. See also Dieter Langewiesche and Klaus Schönhoven, ‘Arbeiterbibliotheken’,
Archiv für Sozialgeschichte, 16 (1976), 135–207.
23 Geary, ‘Beer and skittles’, pp. 394–5.
24 On persecution and discrimination in
and justice had religious connotations as a matter of course). But in
Luhmann's theory, secularisation entails the
de-transcendentalisation of all social subsystems and a concentration of
the reflection of transcendence in only one system of meaning, that of
religion. 38 But is this not at variance with the tough resistance to
secularisation displayed by social utopias (socialism, fascism,
constitutional philosophy has, to some degree,
simply mirrored secularisation in Irish society, as it has been strongly associated with religious thought.44 From the 1990s, natural-law claims ‘encountered
increasing scepticism’ in the Supreme Court.45 While natural-law thought was
explicitly decoupled from Catholic theology as early as the 1970s with the landmark judgment in McGee v. Attorney General,46 the decline of natural law was given
forceful expression in the Abortion Information case discussed in Chapter 1.47
Specifically, the Supreme Court rejected the contention
Caste-based discrimination and the mobilisation of Dalit sameness
instance, effectively demonstrates that
caste-based discrimination is at work even in urban, professional settings
(Jodhka 2015, 119–41). Cities have not, contra modernist expectations, under-
Pollution and purity183
mined the salience of caste. Urban life does not, in discordance with the belief
that cities allow for anonymity and a disintegration of traditional identity
signifiers, bring about the abandoning of caste as stratification and organisation. Even though much has happened to casteism as ideology, caste matters
– perhaps in an increasingly ‘secularised
controversy; it merely gives it a powerful emotional charge.
Further difficulties have arisen as
philosophers have tried to establish the rational basis of human rights.
John Locke, for example, argued that human rights are
‘God-given’, but modern secularisation has lessened the impact
of this assertion. Man’s claim to special treatment among living
things by virtue of his capacity for moral choice, his intellectual