Facing Discrimination: Religion and Agency in Contemporary Societies

Agency is always already informed by the terms in which a subject is addressed (Bracke 2011, Butler 1997). The terms of adscription imply the imposition of difference through which people are identified and classified, and can be functional to creating a category of those who are different-from and worth less-than (Braidotti 2018), such as, but not limited to, racialized (including religious) minorities, LGBTQ+, or those discriminated because of their age or illness. In a similar way, Hage (2010) defines racism as the “process of racial interpellation” and distinguishes negative, erroneous and non-interpellations through which an individual or group is being racialized.

The creation and imposition of different categories of persons can be contested (or not) by individuals or groups in many ways. Reactions to stigmatization depend on a myriad of factors, including the type of negative adscription and the interpellated person themself (gender, level of education, socioeconomic position, age, legal residency, etc.).

Considering that subjectivities are formed at the intersection of interpellations coming from different discursive and non-discursive contexts, the aim of this workshop is to explore how interpellations coming from religious contexts (in its multiple forms and interpretations) impact the material and immaterial conditions to respond (or not) to racist discourse and/or any other type of discrimination. Do religious beliefs and/or bodily practices affect the (individual and/or collective) agential options of those being stigmatized? If so, how do these “religious interpellations” interfere in, relate to, impact on the recognition or rejection of imposed categories? Do they hinder of facilitate certain kinds of agency? Do they contribute to possibilities for a change in situations of vulnerability and subordination? Do they encourage and foster possible alternative projects and contribute to the imagining of other possible worlds?

In order to jointly delve into similarities and differences of our case studies from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective, we invite scholars from different fields (anthropology, sociology, religious studies, critical discourse studies, etc.) to submit their proposals related to research on discriminated groups (e.g., racialized -including religious- minorities, LGBTQ+, aporophobia) and on how religion (in its widest sense) may impact their capacity to act.

Johanna Martine Lems: jmlems@ucm.es