Secularism & Security after Charlie Hebdo

On Charlie Hebdo: metaphor and the tyranny of secular liberalism

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[Note: I struggled, as have many in the US media, over whether to include an example of Charlie Hebdo’s ugly ugly cartoons here.  I struggled in part because I think it’s necessary to have a sense of how callously, pointlessly, vile they could be when having rather abstract discussion of “freedom of speech”.  In the end, I still couldn’t include a drawing of a religious figure bent over and naked soliciting his own anal rape]

The difficult spot many of us who wish to take a critical stance towards the broader reaction to the Charlie Hebdo killing is that broad-based reactions such as #jesuischarlie immediately paint one as either “for” the supposed satire of Charlie Hebdo or “for” the slaughter of cartoonists in their board rooms.  It is possible, in fact probably necessary to be “for” neither.

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Book Reviews, Secularism & Security after Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo, purity, danger and taboo: Lessons from Mary Douglas

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The editors of Anthropoliteia would like to welcome this piece from our own Paul Mutsaers, the first in a new forum “Secularism and Security after Charlie Hebdo

It is the habit of anthropologists not to cave under the pressure of mainstream discourse. Here at Anthropoliteia we particularly like to think of the anthropology of policing and security as a critical mode of thought that addresses central issues in society. The attack on Charlie Hebdo obviously belongs to that category. I would like to make a short statement to intervene in the debate about this horrible event by revisiting Mary Douglas’ Purity and Danger.

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