Fear, disgust, shock. Politics of affect in the self-fashioning process of religious and secular Muslims
Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies European University Institute San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy
This paper examines the affective components of the religious and secular orientation of Maghrebi-Belgians. It is based on a fieldwork and qualitative interviews conducted with second generation Maghrebi in Brussels and Antwerp with various profiles between 2003 to 2006. The paper departs from the observation that emotions and experiences of disgust, fear or chock acted as important differentiating markers in the articulation of one´s religious orientation. Whereas a sense of fear or repulsion was expressed by some secular Maghrebi in relation to certain orthodox Muslim conducts and convictions, narratives of shock or fear were articulated by orthodox Muslim Maghrebi in relation to secular convictions that sit at odds with the dominant orthodox rationale or the dominant secular context. Drawing on Talal Asad´s On Suicide bombing (2007) and Wendy Brown´s Regulating Aversion (2006) we try to understand the productive capacities of this economy of affect, and how these emotions are infrastructural to the constitution of religious and/or secular communities and subjectivities.