Conclusion Public Spheres Transnationalized: Comparisons Within and Beyond Muslim Majority Societies

  • Cecelia Lynch
Part of the Culture and Religion in International Relations book series (CRIR)


In this chapter, I explore the implications of the findings in this volume for the globalized academic discourse on the concepts of public sphere and civil society. I first summarize and analyze a number of the rich empirical and theoretical insights generated in the volume. These insights point to both differences and similarities in Muslim majority societies, and confirm the necessity of understanding context and contingency in drawing conclusions about Islam and the public sphere. I then examine the stakes involved in distinguishing the concepts of “public sphere” and “civil society” (while privileging the former), as is done by LeVine and Salvatore in chapter 1, versus considering them as inseparably related components (conceptually and substantively) of the task of breaking down the secularist/modernist assumptions so ingrained in international relations and democratic theory. In so doing, I discuss how the empirical and conceptual contributions in this volume relate to understandings of public spheres and civil societies elsewhere in the world. Finally, I look at the relationship between the notions of “common sense” and “common good” as articulated by Salvatore and LeVine and the theological discourse on “casuistry” (i.e., the process of ethical reasoning that pays close “attention to the specific details of particular moral cases and circumstances”: Jonsen and Toulmin 1988: 2). What do these bodies of work tell us about the necessity of examining the casuistic interstices of daily practices, tradition, and common good, for understanding the constitutive character of religious ethics in the world?


Civil Society Moral Reasoning Public Sphere Common Good Suicide Bombing 
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© Armando Salvatore and Mark LeVine 2005

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  • Cecelia Lynch

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