120318–Islam and Democracy and a revocation of the compatibility paradigm.
by Irina Bernebring Journiette
Islam and Democracy. The notion is grand. Certainly to grand to even start to theorize about in something as futile as a blog post. However, the concept was the focus for todays “informal chat-session” at our embassy. After a brief presentation of a selective number of texts the floor opened for discussion. About 23 participants were included and came in forms of representatives foremost from the diplomatic society and the intelligentsia. Questions raised and attempts to conclude anything in this vast subject will not be presented here, however, it did raise some important questions in my mind. Why do we for example, always theorize about the subject from a dichotomous standpoint. Arguing in terms of compatibility or incompatibility.Why is the focus always on democracy as a Western notion in relation to “otherness”–the undemocracy of this region? Why have we still not learned that democracy or liberalism can not be imposed as a set structure on societies? Should not all societies be seen as organic structures in which progress needs to grow roots and establish before flourishing? After the debate I of course also needed to reflect on my own part when theorizing about the subject. I wonder about my own ability to theorize about questions of this sorts in relation to my own “western-centered” academic background. Even the core discourse that I use to frame my theories and analysis is inevitably colored by my subjective and western-centered prism.