“The Other Rupture of 1989”


This text investigates the cultural context in which the Rushdie affair has been embedded 20 years after the event. Remembering the Rushdie affair in Britain has transformed the rupture into a suture, establishing a narrative link between this event, 9/11, the “war on terror” and the London bombings in 2005. In an emergent historiography, I propose, the discursive idiom of a globalised conflict of “the West” and “Islam” is represented within self-descriptions of British multi-ethnic society. The relationship between aspects of multiculturalism and post-secular conflict is analysed as the development of a (g)local memory culture in which globalised developments and localised representations interact. In the last part of this contribution, Jürgen Habermas’s proposal for a post-secular public sphere is interrogated concerning the search for a basis for convivial exchange in the face of value pluralism.

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