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Accepted Paper:

Critic and utopia – Discourses and practice of German Catholic Anti-capitalists  
Claudia Willms (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen)

Paper short abstract:

My contribution is discussing an interview with a young German catholic theologist and anti-capitalist, focussing her community experiences, her faith and everyday practices. I will discuss what role the political and the religious dimensions are playing considering her critical and utopian ideas.

Paper long abstract:

My current ethnographic research investigates Muslim and Christian anti-capitalists and their practices and discourses in Germany. Within the scope of this speech, I will focus on just one interview with a catholic theologist and activist. Therewith I would like to contrast and discuss different approaches to the phenomena of religious anti-capitalism. One approach is taken out of the living religion debate and the other from social movement theory. With these concepts, I will discuss Sabrina’s highly reflexive and hybrid construction as a catholic theologist and anti-capitalist. I will observe her anti-capitalist practice, her argumentation and ideas, as well as her community activities. I will show that community, faith, and practice are the core elements of the self-construction, 1. as areligious person, 2. as an anti-capitalist and 3. as a religious anti-capitalist.

Sabrina is working for a charity based and independent Christian institute, which is oriented on liberal theology. This institute supports development policies and exchanges (especially with Latin America), Christian-Muslim exchange processes and furthermore accompanies sanctuaries (“Kirchenasyl”) in Germany. What forms of (collective) action are they preferring, how does she argue for their campaigns? Could we talk of a person, who is politically oriented and religious at the same time, by the same practices? I would like to examine her specific "nexus of doing and sayings" (Schatzki) to understand her idea and identity of Catholicism. I would furthermore like to highlight her concrete critics (against the capitalist system) and her utopian vision (how should the people organise the economy).

Panel P137a
Religion, Political Participation, and Civic Engagement
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -