Sovereignty, Security and Muscular Liberalism. Debating 'Sharia Courts' in Britain

30 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2014

See all articles by Jan Dobbernack

Jan Dobbernack

University of Lincoln (UK) - School of Social Sciences

Date Written: October 2014

Abstract

The working paper considers the political rhetoric of ‘muscular liberalism'. Following David Cameron, 'muscular liberalism' is understood as a paradigm of assertive policy-making in lieu of 'state multiculturalism'. While this orientation has achieved some prominence, its origins as well as its political effects have not been convincingly explored. A 'stimulus-response model', which points towards the Muslim presence in European states as the trigger for the muscular stance, fails to capture the phenomenon. It is furthermore unclear in what relevant sense the requirements that muscular rhetoric levels towards Muslims can be said to qualify as 'liberal' or how the reference to tensions within the 'liberal tradition' would illuminate the muscular position. The purpose of the paper, then, is to work towards a definition that allows considering political functions and situational potentials, in particular the projection of a desired muscular identity. It draws on the mobilization against 'Sharia Courts' in the UK, and the attempt to curtail their operation with the Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Services Bill, to clarify such potentials.

Keywords: Cultural diversity; Islam; minority integration; political liberalism; British politics; Shari’a

Suggested Citation

Dobbernack, Jan, Sovereignty, Security and Muscular Liberalism. Debating 'Sharia Courts' in Britain (October 2014). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2014/103. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2514223 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2514223

Jan Dobbernack (Contact Author)

University of Lincoln (UK) - School of Social Sciences ( email )

Lincoln
United Kingdom

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