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Liberal political theory and the cultural migration of ideas: the case of secularism in India

Jakob De Roover UGent, Sarah Claerhout UGent and Balagangadhara Rao (2011) POLITICAL THEORY. 39(5). p.571-599
abstract
The principles of liberal political theory are often said to be "freestanding," but are they indeed sufficiently detached from the cultural setting where they emerged to be intelligible to people with other backgrounds? To answer this question, this essay examines the Indian secularism debate and develops a hypothesis on the process whereby liberal principles crystallized in the West and then spread elsewhere. It argues that the secularization of western political thought has not produced independent rational principles, but rather transformed theological ideas into the "topoi" of a culture. Like all such topoi, the principles of liberalism depend on other clusters of metaphysical ideas present in western societies. When they migrate to new settings, the absence of these surrounding ideas presents fundamental obstacles to the interpretation and elaboration of liberal principles. The case of Indian secularism illustrates the cultural limitations of liberal political theory, rather than showing its universal significance.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
liberalism, secularism, STATE, HINDUISM, TOLERATION, India, cultural diversity, secularization
journal title
POLITICAL THEORY
Polit. Theory
volume
39
issue
5
pages
571 - 599
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000294733800001
JCR category
POLITICAL SCIENCE
JCR impact factor
0.62 (2011)
JCR rank
72/147 (2011)
JCR quartile
2 (2011)
ISSN
0090-5917
DOI
10.1177/0090591711413545
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
1870111
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1870111
date created
2011-08-07 14:00:07
date last changed
2016-12-19 15:46:25
@article{1870111,
  abstract     = {The principles of liberal political theory are often said to be {\textacutedbl}freestanding,{\textacutedbl} but are they indeed sufficiently detached from the cultural setting where they emerged to be intelligible to people with other backgrounds? To answer this question, this essay examines the Indian secularism debate and develops a hypothesis on the process whereby liberal principles crystallized in the West and then spread elsewhere. It argues that the secularization of western political thought has not produced independent rational principles, but rather transformed theological ideas into the {\textacutedbl}topoi{\textacutedbl} of a culture. Like all such topoi, the principles of liberalism depend on other clusters of metaphysical ideas present in western societies. When they migrate to new settings, the absence of these surrounding ideas presents fundamental obstacles to the interpretation and elaboration of liberal principles. The case of Indian secularism illustrates the cultural limitations of liberal political theory, rather than showing its universal significance.},
  author       = {De Roover, Jakob and Claerhout, Sarah and Rao, Balagangadhara},
  issn         = {0090-5917},
  journal      = {POLITICAL THEORY},
  keyword      = {liberalism,secularism,STATE,HINDUISM,TOLERATION,India,cultural diversity,secularization},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {571--599},
  title        = {Liberal political theory and the cultural migration of ideas: the case of secularism in India},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0090591711413545},
  volume       = {39},
  year         = {2011},
}

Chicago
De Roover, Jakob, Sarah Claerhout, and Balagangadhara Rao. 2011. “Liberal Political Theory and the Cultural Migration of Ideas: The Case of Secularism in India.” Political Theory 39 (5): 571–599.
APA
De Roover, J., Claerhout, S., & Rao, B. (2011). Liberal political theory and the cultural migration of ideas: the case of secularism in India. POLITICAL THEORY, 39(5), 571–599.
Vancouver
1.
De Roover J, Claerhout S, Rao B. Liberal political theory and the cultural migration of ideas: the case of secularism in India. POLITICAL THEORY. 2011;39(5):571–99.
MLA
De Roover, Jakob, Sarah Claerhout, and Balagangadhara Rao. “Liberal Political Theory and the Cultural Migration of Ideas: The Case of Secularism in India.” POLITICAL THEORY 39.5 (2011): 571–599. Print.