Muslims Under General Suspicion? : A Discourse Historical Analysis of Security in the Amendment Process of the Austrian Islam Act

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Title: Muslims Under General Suspicion? : A Discourse Historical Analysis of Security in the Amendment Process of the Austrian Islam Act
Author: Turk, Jana Barbara
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta, Maailman kulttuurien laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of World Cultures
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för världens kulturer
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2018
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: uskontotiede
Study of Religions
Abstract: There is a general tendency of perceiving religion as a problem in Europe. This perception is rooted in a secular European self-image which is historically defined in its opposition to Islam. The discourse on Islam thus has been Othering, drawing on danger or fear, calling for interventions or discipline on part of the state, to contain the perceived threat. Historically, Austria seems to have been partly outside this discourse, as it followed a friendly line towards different religions and denominations during the times of the pluralist and pluri-confessional Habsburg Empire. In 1912 the Islam Act was passed, officially recognising Islam as a religion in the empire and governing the relations between Muslim communities and the Austrian state for over 100 years. When the Islam Act was amended in 2015, it sparked a controversy, as many Muslims felt put under general suspicion. This thesis investigates the amended Islam Act through the lens of securitisation theory by applying a discourse historical approach (DHA) to the law text as well as to the relating Parliamentary discussions. A detailed analysis of the law texts identifies why redundancies and special insertions function as securitisation mechanisms, while the Members of Parliament’s reproduce the secular self-image vis á vis Muslim subjectivities. The application of the “two faces of faith” narrative (see Hurd, 2015) is utilised as discursive strategy justifying securitisation. While the Members of the Parliament say that it must not be a contradiction to be Austrian and Muslim, the regime of truth their discourse reproduces and is situated in, says differently.
Subject: securitisation
two faces of faith
discourse historical approach

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