There is a Sexular Body: Introducing a Material Approach to the Secular

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    This article calls for more `bottom-up inquiry' into the secular, departing from the assumption that it features normative ideologies and practices that dominate current societies. I plea for collecting and analyzing manifestations of the secular, as the secular as an phenomenon in society is surprisingly unexplored. To stimulate such inquiry, I suggest a material approach to the secular, as it will provide researchers with tools to conduct empirical research on the secular in contemporary societies. Inspired by Joan Scott, Charles Hirschkind, and Talal Asad, this article explores the notion of a Dutch `sexular' body: a body which affective-gestural repertoires, limited here to the context of sexuality, people in society (historically) associate with the secular. I conclude by arguing that a material approach to the secular will contribute to (1) obtaining a more comprehensive understanding of the secular, including its cultural conceptualizations and manifestations, and (2) clarifying, and hence facing the normativity the secular imposes on the people living in secular societies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number8
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    JournalSecularism and Nonreligion
    Publication statusPublished - 12-May-2017

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