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Sovereignty and Its Other: Toward the Dejustification of Violence

New York: Fordham University Press (2013)

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  1. Homo profanus: The Christian martyr and the violence of meaning-making.Matthew Recla - 2014 - Critical Research on Religion 2 (2):147-164.
    The martyr is a potent symbol of sacrifice in Western cultural discourse. Understanding martyrdom as sacrifice, however, blunts the potency of the martyr's action. It obscures the violence by which the martyr's death becomes, paradoxically, a means to define institutional life. In this article, I propose an analogous relationship between the early Christian martyr and Giorgio Agamben's enigmatic homo sacer. Like homo sacer, the Christian martyr provides an “other” against which to organize institutional life. Read as a sacrifice, the martyr (...)
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  • “The Islamic State is not Islamic:” Terrorism, Sovereignty and Declarations of Unbelief.Caleb D. McCarthy - 2016 - Critical Research on Religion 4 (2):156-170.
    This article examines the Islamic concept of takfīr as it is used in secular-pluralistic contexts, within a larger delegitimizing discourse against terrorism. I argue that this takfīr as deployed by “liberal” Muslims, functions to legitimate the state’s use of coercive force. Furthermore, the secular state may in turn draw upon these discourses to co-opt the right to determine authentic Muslim identity. However, in doing so the state is forced to enter into a religiously discursive space. Takfīr notably becomes the site (...)
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