Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics)


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1 Introduction

Thus, 'nationality' defines who the 'nationals' are and, consequently, who is to have access to public and civil rights. In this play of forces, the production of conflicts of nationality generally operates through the elaboration of ascriptive categories such as land, blood, filiation, race, religion, gender, etc.

Such categories condition, on the one hand, the distribution of a set of civil rights public employment, State benefits, etc.


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The literature on the subject observes that in 19 th century Europe basically two different models of nationality prevailed: the French model, which was based on the principle of universalizing citizenship that did not take ethnicity and religion into account, and the German model, based on the ideas of ethnic and cultural belonging. However, Gaspard observes that the right of blood has always been present, to a greater or lesser extent, in the legislations of all European national States. In this sense, they all contain a potential racializing dimension that might be mobilized in different circumstances.

The expansion of European States into other continents in the 19 th century made the political construction of nationalities even more complex. In effect, the different models of colonialism affected the way in which nationalities were distributed among extraterritorial populations. In the British case, law distinguished between different categories of British citizens based on criteria of racial belonging; in the process, the name 'colored' was assigned to a very diverse set of 'racial'and 'inter-racial' possibilities.

Although legal processes resort to historically available categories to assign nationality, the relations between the way in which law circumscribes categorizations and the way in which social life is organized in practice are neither direct nor mechanical. In effect, 'nationals' are not produced by means of decrees.

Migration and Identity in a Post-National World | K. Tonkiss | Palgrave Macmillan

The long tradition of the 'race' category, for example, in spite of the scientific criticism to which it was submitted already in the 19 th century, remained operative in European thought at least until the emergence of fascism even among those who opposed the idea of racial inequality. The concept of racism emerged in the debate that followed the disclosure of Nazi crimes and was originally used to fight the scientific claim related to the use of racial categories in order to differentiate people Robert Miles The ideology of the 'final solution' and its consequences, in addition to the struggles for decolonization that disclosed the violence perpetrated in the name of racial differences, contributed to accelerate the political and ideological disrepute of racial theories.

UNESCO played an important role in the post-war period regarding the ultimate disappearance of race as a political category for naming differences based on biology. Michael Banton suggests that anti-racist civil movements were everywhere the precursors of the displacement of the category of 'race' by that of 'ethnicity. In the American case studied by Banton, the alternative views of black nationality offered by the emergence of African States and the spectacular performance of their statesmen and diplomats in the international scene was fundamental for American blacks to be able to consider their own condition from a new perspective.

For this author, even if discourses of nationality did not transform black Americans into a nation, at least it made them "more conscious of their difference" and thus allowed for their "ethnogenesis" 5 as a people or ethnicity. But this cannot be affirmed of modern nationalisms in which conflicts become part of the way in which the logics of the State operate. It is interesting to note that in the Brazilian case, in contrast with the examples provided above, the categories of race and ethnicity have followed parallel routes: The political problem of blacks with regard to the production of nationality was dealt with based on the grammar of race and culture, while the indigenous issue was formulated in the field of ethnicity.

Understanding why, differently from the United States, Indians were not classed as a race in Brazil and blacks were not ethnicized except for the most recent cases of quilombolas would deserve a separate investigation. Besides having been used as labor during colonialism, Indians were, as is known, a key element in settlement policies as well as in the production and control of the Brazilian colonial territory.

A significant part of 19 th century constitutional provisions focused on territorial issues and tried to limit the occupation of the territory by indigenous peoples in order to retain a reserve of 'public lands' Mares de Souza Filho In practice, the establishment of rights concerning public lands also produced rights over the natives' original lands.

Indigenist models, either in the Christian missionary version or in Rondon's positivist view, always implied some form of preservation, limitation or modelling of territories perceived as pertaining to these people who had been originally born in Brazil. These populations were therefore not racialized in the 19 th century. The polarity that constituted them as national entities concerned their civilizational stage. Although their 'savagery' was supposed ultimately to give way to integration into the normativity of the State through the legal status of tutelage, indigenous "ancestry" in using the territory that connoted it was positively taken up and indelibly marked the imagination of the Brazilian nation.

Brazil thus became imbued with a historical depth that preceded colonization by a foreign power.

Blacks, in contrast, emerged as a population within the political system: They interpellated the Republican State not because of their origin, but because of their condition, which was then perceived as contradictory: they were simultaneously 'free men' and 'men of color'. But, as noted by Gabriel Aladren , the existence and expansion of social groups with both the attributes that were in principle conceived of as exclusive and extreme led to miscegenation. Miscegenation was more than a biological process whose ancestry it was no longer possible to determine; it was above all a social process through which a new intermediary and uncomfortable place was produced in the social hierarchy.

In contrast with the United States, the idea of freedom began to be outlined in Brazil with the abolitionist movement, and not in the religious field. With the proclamation of the Republic, the abolitionist movement was weakened and replaced by a dispute for control over the practices that might be considered acceptable by courts, medical and public hygiene discourses, the press and public opinion, the Catholic hierarchy, etc.

This excursion into very complex and widely studied subjects such as slavery and miscegenation allows us to point out elements that are important for our argument: During almost years the black 'color was intimately associated with the condition of slavery, even if not exclusively so.

Migration and Identity in a Post-National World

They did so primarily on subjective perceptions of possible tonalities in a relatively arbitrary way. It was only in the second half of the 19 th century that these tonalities were associated to the idea of 'race,' even if in a very impressionistic way because the ancestry of particular individuals was hardly retrievable.

The biological theories on which the concept of racial superiority was grounded associated 'blood mixture' with all manner of degeneration, and did not provide any clear and widely acceptable ideological route for the political construction of a popular sovereignty grounded in the idea of race in a society that was marked by centuries of miscegenation.

Thus, in contrast with the United States and more recent States such as South Africa, which had race as the central element of their political and legal system as well as their national consciousness, part of the Brazilian men and women of letters drew on a a tradition through which skin tonality designated a social condition marked by the free slave and possibilities of social mobility. In effect, the acceptance of racial models started to decline already in the s, and the experience of miscegenation became, as in Gilberto Freyre's paradigmatic work, the main reference for the cultural standard that formed the nation.

Half a century later, the constituent process initiated in the s led to a new and intense mobilization around racial issues in which color was again associated with the condition of social inequality. Inspired by the conquests of multicultural and ethnic movements, black leaders organized themselves to strengthen anti-racist legislation. Differently from the relations between race, ethnicities, and the formation of nationality, the relations between religions and modern States have more historical depth. There is relative consensus in the literature on the subject regarding the importance of the Peace of Augsburg in It put an end to the wars between Catholics and Protestants in Europe and thus contributed to the consolidation of the idea that to each State corresponds a Church, consecrating the principle of territorial and cult unity.

Although the Thirty Years' War momentarily interrupted this consensus, the Treaty of Westphalia ratified the principle according to which a State, a territory and an exclusive and dominant religion guaranteed by the power of the State would coincide. After this arrangement was made, in many cases, such as that of Henry VIII's England, the state power apparatus began to coincide with the religious apparatus and heresy was treated as political treason Lecler ; Laursen ; Bauberot In the case of France, although the Edict of Nantes 14 established the co-existence of two confessions under the same State, its revocation by Louis XIV in made Catholicism once again the exclusive religion of a State territory at a moment in which political reforms weakened the jurisdiction of the Catholic Church over the French territory.

The complexities and nuances of a process that lasted four centuries have already been described and analyzed by a vast literature that we do not intend to cover here. Thus, while the most recent ideas of 'race' and 'ethnicity' have been associated with the constitution of 'nationality' in somewhat well-established States, issues concerning religions have been historically associated with the very edification of the structures of modern secular States and their counterpart, civil society, as an entity of rights that was relatively separate from both the State and the religious apparatus.

As has been well-observed by Geoffrey Levey, religion had a formative role in the development of liberal societies because it was the only idiom available. Thus, other cultural forms could only be distinguished from religious forms as time went on 5. This difference of historical depth seems to be fundamental for us to understand the distinctive way in which "religions" and "ethnicities" politically interpellate the power of the State. In a previous paper Montero that examines the strategic role of the Catholic Church in the construction of Republican secularism in Brazil, we argued that Christian culture also had a key role in the formation of the Brazilian public sphere.

Thus, although the religious model and the model of the nation State obey distinct logics, the construction of secularism went hand in hand with the construction of nationality. In contrast to Protestantism, perceived as an imported religiosity, and to magical practices, associated principally with slavery, only Catholicism allowed for the celebration of the supposedly primordial bonds uniting the different members of the Brazilian nation.

From an institutional perspective, the construction of the modern Republican State depended on the legal institution of a state apparatus that was separate from the ecclesiastical administration. However, in spite of the tensions brought about by the reform of the State undertaken by Republicanism and the accommodation of the goods and interests of the Catholic Church in civil legal associations, there was no war against religion in Brazil. On the contrary, many authors have already demonstrated that given the inception of a state bureaucracy that lacked technical and human resources, civil life remained for a long time under the aegis of religious administration Beozzo ; Mainwaring ; Giumbelli ; Mariano , Montero , Forty years after the establishment of the new regime, the alliance between the Church and the State was to be further strengthened by the first term of Getulio Vargas's administration, which actively collaborated to establish the Catholic Church as the moral tutor of the Brazilian nation.

By granting it privileges and subsidies in exchange for political and ideological support, Vargas's administration consolidated the material bases for the religious monopoly of Catholicism for a long time. The intimate relations between the Catholic Church and the State endured until their relative rupture during the military regime from onwards. As has been well-observed by Ken Serbin 7 , this moral agreement made it possible for the Catholic Church to become "the social extension of the State by means of the construction of hospitals, churches, and other projects.

For these reasons, the naturalization of Catholicism as a moral value of the Brazilian nation permeated all spheres of social life for more than half a century. It was in its name that Catholic priests, with the connivance of sectors of the Judiciary, colonized the institutions, laws, powers of the State, and public celebrations, persecuting pastors and popular practice, which, they believed, threatened the social and moral order.

In practice, the State depended on Christian culture and ecclesiastical institutions to formulate a unifying ideology of Brazilian nationality, a process that continued over various decades. Politically, the Catholic Church maintained its influence over an expressive part of the dynamics related to the construction of citizenship by maintaining control over social welfare and expanding its hegemony over civil rights. The moral agreement with the Catholic Church eventually became the model of legal reference for the creation, organization, and recognition of new civil religious associations that disputed the adherence of popular classes.

In effect, categories such as 'magic,"sorcery,' and 'macumba' were organized in a generic way within the classification of 'low Spiritism' and understood as the reverse of religion. They were typified as crimes until the s Giumbelli Giumbelli argues that it is in the realm of debate with the agents of the law that Spiritism and Umbanda were constructed as religions by banning from their practices elements such as animal sacrifice, economic exploitation, and magical healing, which were legally framed as charlatanism and quackery.

This quick digression through the notions of race and ethnicity in their relation to issues of nationality as well as through the category of religion in its relation to the formation of secularism allow us to perceive how the categories of 'religion' and 'ethnicity' have followed parallel trajectories in their relation to the construction of modern nation States.


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In the Brazilian case, in which religious diversity had not yet constituted itself as such, secularism had much more the role of legally guaranteeing the effective separation of the bureaucratic and political interests of the Republican State and the Catholic Church than it had, for lack of actual religious competition, the role of exerting pressure for the withdrawal of religion from the public sphere. However, the notions of secularism and race return to the core of the present political dispute, in which the secular national State, submitted to the double scrutiny of internal and external pressure, becomes the object of intense criticism, which is aimed at bringing about greater equality and the recognition of differences.

In effect, pressure for more participation and political influence on the part of movements centered on religious and ethnic demands affect the contemporary understanding of secularism, on the one hand, and nationality, on the other.. Thus, let us consider the contemporary scenario in order to understand how 'secularism' and 'pluralism' have, in locating 'religions' and 'ethnicities' within the realm of political struggles, given rise to new challenges for what we could call 'post-secular' and 'post-national' States, as defined by J.

New challenges to the sovereignty of post-secular States. In a previous article in which we examined the issues of religious pluralism and ethnographic translation in the light of the Habermasian concepts of publicity and reflexivity, we faced the contemporary theoretical and political challenge of the necessary co-existence of cultural and religious differences within a common legal framework Montero In Law and Democracy, Habermas suggests that in post-World War II secular societies, law took on the function of mediating between the communicative power that lies at the foundation of the society and the administrative power, in this way removing a prerogative maintained by the Catholic Church for many centuries.

According to Habermas , a strictly secular model that associates accelerated modernization with the vanishing of religion cannot confront the problem posed by post-secular societies, in which religions demand the right to influence the public sphere. The secularism of the Brazilian state has been guaranteed by its Constitution for over one century.

However, secularism has never been as threatened as in the last decade, during which various sectors of civil society have invoked the principle of secularism to demand respect for difference of faith and freedom of worship. Some have mobilized opinion to enforce the removal of religious symbols from public places, while Neo-Pentecostal leaders have initiated an aggressive campaign against Afro-Brazilian religious manifestations. Since the Republican Constitution of , Brazil has recognized freedom of worship and prohibited any State interference in religious affairs.

However, its purpose at that time was practically to guarantee civil autonomy to Catholicism and freedom of worship to Protestants. As has already been argued Montero , while the civil code aimed at consolidating secularism by separating civil acts birth, marriage, education, health, etc. In effect, as we shall see below, in the Brazilian case, religious diversity was very slowly transformed into political pluralism due to the Catholic hegemony that until very recently delayed the emergence of conflicts over secularism in Brazil.

As far as secularism is concerned, the Constitution basically limited itself to what had already been foreseen in the previous Constitutions Leite However, it did include a small but significant change to the article concerning the protection of 'free external manifestation of faith' Art. It suppressed the references to 'public order' and 'good morals' as limits to the practice of religious worship. We believe that this suppression expresses the understanding that Spiritism and Afro-Brazilian practices had become, over the previous fifty years, widely accepted as unequivocally religious activities that should therefore have the full right of public expression.

We could therefore conclude that the Constitution represents a milestone concerning the widening of the notion of religion on the part of the State by recognizing practices that were previously subject to criminalization as fully religious, and by accepting religious pluralism as a right that demands respect for differences of belief and the defense of freedom of worship. Leite Paradoxically, the dispute over the very concept of secularism was exacerbated exactly when religious pluralism and its rights were recognized. Increase in the competition between possible creeds and the incorporation of the idea of the free manifestation of opinions as an individual right multiply the different positions regarding practices that may be considered acceptable or not within a secular State.

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As far as religious pluralism is concerned, Evangelical growth has increased the perception of religious diversity, as has already been mentioned, and the conflict between Neo-Pentecostals and Afro-Brazilian religions has place the right to the manifestation of worship at the core of the dispute. In reality, it seems that the institutionalization of religious pluralism as a legal issue and social practice has been paradoxically stimulated by the very expansion of Pentecostalism.

In fact, by publicly demonizing other forms of worship in the name of 'truth' and 'sin,' 19 some sectors of the Neo-Pentecostal movement resort to a dogmatic language similar to the language of Catholic priests in their campaigns against Umbanda in the s in order to circumscribe religious frontiers and expand their symbolic domain over Afro-Spiritist manifestations. But what was then accepted by public opinion without much scandal now causes a profound confrontation of opinions.

In fact, as is shown by Milton Bortoleto's investigation in progress, organized religious leaders have drawn on the anti-racist law that actions undertaken in the name of the 'true religion' should be understood as prejudiced and typified as criminal. Secularism and the ethical foundation of the State. While there have been no significant changes in the law on secularism, the Executive has produced new policy directives, particularly in the version of the federal government's National Program for Human Rights.

The document expressed demands from both secular and religious sectors and included a measure that aimed to develop actions "to preclude the ostensive display of religious symbols in the Union's public buildings as a way of promoting the secularism of the State as well as respect for differences of faith and worship" Giumbelli The proposal did not last long: it was removed from the document in a new decree less than one year later. Revision history. From the Publisher via CrossRef no proxy tandfonline. Configure custom resolver. The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self.

Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics) Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics)
Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics) Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics)
Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics) Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics)
Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics) Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics)
Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics) Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics)
Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics) Migration and Identity in a Post-National World (Global Ethics)

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