Socio-Religious Movements and the Transformation of “Common Sense” into a Politics of “Common Good”

  • Mark LeVine
  • Armando Salvatore
Part of the Culture and Religion in International Relations book series (CRIR)


This chapter explores the philosophical and epistemological foundations of the variety of notions of the “public” utilized—explicitly and implicitly—by socio-religious movements to define and justify their ideologies and actions to achieve social power. Our hypothesis is that contemporary Muslim socio-religious movements attempt to formulate and implement discourses of common good that aspire to legitimate specific forms of political community, based on distinctive methods of public reasoning. These discourses are often in tension with modern liberal conceptions of the public sphere; specifically, they remain unbounded by the strictures of liberal norms of publicness premised on atomistic views of the social agent and contractually based notions of trust, by a strict interpretation of the dichotomy between private and public spheres, and by the ultimate basing of public reason on private interest. What socio-religious discourses and movements primarily base their public reason on is a practical reason sanctified by religious tradition, however variably interpreted. Such a perspective provides these discourses with a level of fluidity and adaptability that accounts in large measure for their success in mobilizing large numbers of people to their cause.


Civil Society Common Sense Public Sphere Common Good Religious Tradition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Armando Salvatore and Mark LeVine 2005

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  • Mark LeVine
  • Armando Salvatore

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