Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Liberalism Related Abstracts

3 The Enlightenment Project in the Arab World: Saudi Arabia as a Case Study in Modern Islamic Thought

Authors: Khawla Almulla

Abstract:

It is noticed that many Arab intellectuals have called to the need and the importance of enlightenment and its application in their communities, such as Saudi Arabia. To every Islamic state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia represents a strategic cornerstone, since it is considered the cradle of Islam. It is the Land of the Two Holy Mosques: the Holy Mosque in Makkah surrounding the Kaaba, towards which all Muslims around the world turn while performing daily prayers and even travel to if possible in order to perform the Hajj (Pilgrimage). It also has the Prophet'ـ‘s Holy Mosque in Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah, which contains the tomb of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Therefore, Saudi Arabia occupies an eminent position among Arab and Islamic countries on a religious level. Saudi Arabia has become the most influential country in the Arab world, since it has one-third of the oil resources outside Central Asia, China and Russia .It is the world’s largest producer and exporter of oil. Discovering oil in Saudi Arabia converted it from an important country for Muslims-only to an important country for the major industrial countries and also the developing countries, as well. For various reasons, the diversity of intellectual currents can play a significant role in each community by way of cultural improvement, the development of civilization and the education of people until they become accustomed to accepting or rejecting opinions or ideas which differ from or oppose their own. In addition, the intellectual pluralism and cultural diversity can play a variety of roles. This helps promote dialogue and understanding between different groups or schools of thought. It can also develop cognitive skills, by exchanging ideas and views between different schools and intellectual currents. However, in Saudi Arabia there is much to oppose this plurality. The situation today shows that having a variety of ideologies and differences of cultures are not considered a reasonable way to develop intellectually as an individual or as a country. Rather the opposite is recommended, such that the ideologies of different groups are enough to bring out intellectual conflict and then to the segregation of society. As a consequence, extremism of thought from the different currents in Saudi Arabia has become apparent. This research is of great importance in its exploration of two significant themes. First, it highlights the Saudi Arabian background, in particular the historical, religious and social contexts, in order to understand the background of each religious or liberal movement and find the core of the intellectual differences between them. In addition, the aim of this research is to show the importance of moderation in Islamic thought in Saudi Arabia by tracing the thoughts and views of Dr Salman Al-Odah, whom he has considered to be the most important moderate thinker in Saudi Arabia.

Keywords: Liberalism, Religious Movements, Saudi Arabia, Extremism, Salafism, moderation, intellectual movements, Salman Al-Odah

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2 The Concept of Development: A Normative Restructured Model in the Light of Indian Political Thought and Classical Liberalism

Authors: Sarthak S. Salunke

Abstract:

Development, as a notion, is seen in perspective of western philosophical conceptions, and the western developed nations have become a yardstick for setting up development goals for developing and underdeveloped nations around the world. This blanket term of development becomes superficial and materialistic in context of the vast geopolitical, territorial, cultural and behavioral diversities existing in countries of the Africa and the Asia, and tends to undermine the atomistic aspect of development. Indian political theories, which are often seen as religious philosophies, have inherent structure of development of human being as an individual and as a part of the society, and, in result, development of the State. These theories, primarily individualistic in nature, have a combination of altruism and rationalism which guides human beings towards constructing a collectively developed and morally sustainable society. This research focuses on the application of this Indian thought in combination of classical liberal thought to tackle the issues of development in diverse societies. The proposed restructured model of development is based on molecular individualism, instead of atomic individual approach of liberalists, which lets development modelers to target meaningful clusters for designating goals for development based on the particular needs based on geopolitical, cultural and ethical requirements, and making it meaningful in conjunction with global development to establish a harmony between western and eastern worlds.

Keywords: Development, Liberalism, Indian political thought, molecular individualism

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1 Window Seat: Examining Public Space, Politics, and Social Identity through Urban Public Transportation

Authors: Sabrina Howard

Abstract:

'Window Seat' uses public transportation as an entry point for understanding the relationship between public space, politics, and social identity construction. This project argues that by bringing people of different races, classes, and genders in 'contact' with one another, public transit operates as a site of exposure, as people consciously and unconsciously perform social identity within these spaces. These performances offer a form of freedom that we associate with being in urban spaces while simultaneously rendering certain racialized, gendered, and classed bodies vulnerable to violence. Furthermore, due to its exposing function, public transit operates as a site through which we, as urbanites and scholars, can read social injustice and reflect on the work that is necessary to become a truly democratic society. The major questions guiding this research are: How does using public transit as the entry point provide unique insights into the relationship between social identity, politics, and public space? What ideas do Americans hold about public space and how might these ideas reflect a liberal yearning for a more democratic society? To address these research questions, 'Window Seat' critically examines ethnographic data collected on public buses and trains in Los Angeles, California, and online news media. It analyzes these sources through literature in socio-cultural psychology, sociology, and political science. It investigates the 'everyday urban hero' narrative or popular news stories that feature an individual or group of people acting against discriminatory or 'Anti-American' behavior on public buses and trains. 'Window Seat' studies these narratives to assert that by circulating stories of civility in news media, United Statsians construct and maintain ideas of the 'liberal city,' which is characterized by ideals of freedom and democracy. Furthermore, for those involved, these moments create an opportunity to perform the role of the Good Samaritan, an identity that is wrapped up in liberal beliefs in diversity and inclusion. This research expands conversations in urban studies by making a case for the political significance of urban public space. It demonstrates how these sites serve as spaces through which liberal beliefs are circulated and upheld through identity performance.

Keywords: Liberalism, public transportation, Social identity, Public space

Procedia PDF Downloads 59