Publication details

Juggling grammars, translating common-place : Justifying an anti-liberal referendum to a liberal public



Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords Civil sphere; LGBTIQ rights; referendum; religion; pragmatic sociology; Slovakia
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Description The revival of religion in politics and the rise of anti-liberal movements across Western democracies highlights the need to better grasp the ways participants in public controversies make their agendas intelligible, meaningful, and justified. While most theories of deliberative democracy presume an argumentative format, real-life political agendas often combine conventional arguments with mobilisations of emotions and religious engagement. Based on the analysis of a high-profile debate preceding the 2015 Slovak referendum on same-sex rights, this paper engages the notion of multiple grammars of commonality (Thévenot, 2014), to examine how personal attachments are formatted for public dispute and how different grammars are employed and mixed by referendum proponents and opponents. Discussing the difficulties in grasping religiously grounded standpoints with the pragmatic conceptual toolkit, we conclude that a pragmatic sociological understanding of the role of religion in communicating and composing difference needs to be revisited.
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