Topics: Antisemitism: Muslim, Dialogue, Interfaith Dialogue, Jewish - Muslim Relations, Main Topic: Other, Synagogues, Terrorism
Abstract: Both engaging in and researching interreligious dialogue initiatives after the 2015 Paris attacks among people who associate strongly with Jewish and Muslim communal structures provides a valuable framework for considering one of the central puzzles in the sociology of religion, namely, social transformations that apply not only to the observed but also to the observer. However, scholarship on interreligious dialogue does not have any well-established research episteme from which to proceed analytically. Academic doxa places interreligious dialogue initiatives in the realm of the “practical” and at times doctrinal, but not the rigorously analytical. These initiatives are often referred to in the English-speaking world as “interfaith,” a word which encompasses a vast array of voluntarist encounters across time and space. The underlying assumption of the academy is that researching dialogue initiatives is a form of “action-research,” a results-oriented mode of scholarship constrained by the necessity to obtain “best practice,” which is of little prestige or value to academics and intellectuals (Bielo 2018: 28). Moreover, since these initiatives have thus far often involved top-down practices, receiving their impetus from the state or dominant religious structures, they have lacked societal legitimacy and therefore have been of little interest to sociology.
Topics: Main Topic: Other, Jewish - Muslim Relations, Interfaith Relations, Interfaith Dialogue, Cities and Suburbs, Immigration
Abstract: This article offers a comparative lens on intercultural and interreligious encounter in urban contexts in France and the UK, focusing on the commonalities and specificities of different national and municipal contexts. It offers an account of three forms of encounter, based on extensive fieldwork in two neighbourhoods of Paris and London: commercial interdependencies embedded in early phases of immigration; voluntaristic ‘interfaith-from-above’ policies shaped by state agendas developed since the beginning of the twenty-first century; and still emerging ‘interculturalism-from-below’ generated by second- and third-generation children of immigrants, which is marked by nostalgia and selective reading of local heritage. In doing so, it bypasses the sharp disciplinary and methodological divides that separate research on Jewish histories and cultures, Muslim communities, immigrant quarters, and postcolonial/minority ethnic contexts. It aims instead to show how intercultural and interfaith encounters often occur in mundane spaces, and operate through and despite forms of ambivalence, and in this respect offer a context in which to displace the terms of spectacular accounts of racial and civilizational conflict.
Maghrebinicité 1981–2012: affective belonging from the margins of North African Jewish experience in île-de-France