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Secularism and Identitarian Orthodoxy: Trajectories of a Great Divide over the Notion of the West (2013-2014)

Field of study: Social Anthropology

This paper presents an explorative thesis: it discusses the logic of discursive trajectories of power operations between, on one side, the Serbian Orthodox Church’s involvement in politics and its hegemonic identity ideology promulgated by so called traditionalists, and on the other side the secularist politics of identity championed by progressivists who (re)present secularism as an epistemological truth and an analytical category for the interpretation of social life in Serbia as a society on a semi-periphery, i.e. as a society which is ‘neither here
nor there’ in its comparison to the notion and image of the West. It is argued here that in their respective quests to define “the State”, to vest it with power of determining public identity, and to shape worldviews of the citizenry in the public arena by defining appropriate and inappropriate scopes of reference, both secularist and identitarian ecclesiastic discourses perpetuate exclusivism in their strategies for advancement of their own worldviews.

Keywords: Serbian Orthodox Church, identitarian Orthodoxy, secularism, societal secularity, the West, politics of identity

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