Monday, July 28, 2003

Immanuel Kant's notion of "True Liberty" in a Secular State (5)

Thus, the responsibility for acting morally becomes internalized. This transformation eliminates the need for a direct regulation, rather an insignificant but a constant indirect control of the state is sufficient to internalize the power. The liberal state allows the individual a degree of freedom; however, the individual would be trained and taught to internalize some of the basic necessities that would enable him to function within the defined boundaries of the public sphere.
The crucial point in this transformation, to reiterate, is that power does not disappear rather becomes internalized; and consequently the state seems less important. Foucault refers to this as "structural effect." He states that, "the modern state works internally through disciplinary power not by constraining individuals and their action but by producing them."
Peter van der Veer, therefore, puts forward a perspective within which religion is perceived central in forming and establishing the modern notion of secular government. He, by challenging the essential features of the secularization thesis, is able to criticize previous theories of Marxism, neo-Marxism and world system historians. In all these theories, capitalism and the evolution of labor and value remain central in the development of the modern nation. Van der Veer, however, argues that centrality of the economic history in the process of nation building in these approaches ignores the essential role that religion has historically played in the contemporary structure of modern state.
By using the example of India and the historical role played both by the Hindu revivalist movements in India and the Evangelical missionaries shaping the very identity of the new emerging governments he demonstrates the significance of religion played in the formation of both modern India and England. He, therefore, challenges the very assumptions of secularization theories including separation of religion from politics, economy and science, and the declining social significance of religious belief.

(written by Navid)
(posted by Farid)

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