Islam and Secularity: The Future of Europe's Public Sphere
Nilüfer Göle is Professor of Sociology at the Centre d'Études Sociologiques et Politiques Raymond Aron and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris). She is the author of Islam in Europe: The Lure of Fundamentalism and the Allure of Cosmopolitanism and editor of Islam and Public Controversy in Europe.
Secular Modernity in Question
The European sociology has shaped our understanding of modernity as an intrinsically secular process of change. However, as Europe becomes a site in which the principles of secular modernity and Muslim religious claims confront each other at the level of everyday life practices, the European narrative of modernity and sociology face significant challenges. The intimate encounters between Islam and Europe as well as between religion and secularity can only be studied through a two-way mirroring and intercultural reflexivity. This chapter demonstrates how contemporary Islamic studies can be thought both the subject and the instigator of a transformation that social sciences undergo. Studying European societies from the vintage point of Islam unsettles the disciplinary frontiers and opens up critical readings of secular modernity.