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Society, state, security, and subject formation: The emergence of modern neutrality society and the formation of the types of subjects it requires

Wickham, G. and Evers, B. (2010) Society, state, security, and subject formation: The emergence of modern neutrality society and the formation of the types of subjects it requires. In: Yeatman, A. and Zolkos, M., (eds.) State, Security and Subject Formation. Continuum, New York, pp. 116-132.

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Abstract

Modern neutrality society is defined by the formal neutrality of the state and the judiciary regarding religion and ideology. It developed from the de-confessionalization of politics and law in early modern Europe, as part of the fragile civil peace put in place by the Treaty of Westphalia and similar instruments, whereby religion became a private matter, formally beyond the reach of the law, though only so long as the proponents of the different faiths did not seek to disturb the aforementioned civil peace. This technique for dealing with the explosive violence all too easily generated by rival communities of believers was later adapted, in the countries with which we are dealing (details shortly), to similarly douse the flames of hatreds born of ideological differences. We use the word ‘neutrality” with some caution, recognizing that some governments of some neutrality societies have occasionally pushed the meaning of the word to the breaking point, but we are confident that our readers will know that there is a dividing line between this type of society and the type that is formally committed to a religion, such as the rival Christian societies of early modern Europe or ancient or modern Islamic societies, or to an ideology, such as communist or fascist societies found in different parts of Europe in the twentieth century. Some readers may think that secular” would be a better word for what we have in mind, but as secularity has too often itself become an ideology, even, perhaps, a religion, we prefer “neutrality.”

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Continuum
Copyright: 2010 by Anna Yeatman and Magdalena Zolkos
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/8118
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