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Questioning SecularismIslam, Sovereignty, and the Rule of Law in Modern Egypt$
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Hussein Ali Agrama

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226010687

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226010700.001.0001

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The Indeterminacies of Secular Power: Sovereignty, Public Order, and Family

The Indeterminacies of Secular Power: Sovereignty, Public Order, and Family

(p.69) Chapter Two The Indeterminacies of Secular Power: Sovereignty, Public Order, and Family
Questioning Secularism

Hussein Ali Agrama

University of Chicago Press

This chapter argues that the question of whether Egypt is a secular or religious state is neither an answerable nor a false one. Rather, it is a question whose persistence, force, and inability to be resolved reflects the peculiar intractability of contemporary secularity. The question of Egypt's secularity or religiosity is an expression of secularism's characteristic tensions and its distinctive modes of power, sensibility, and instability. Secularism must be crucially understood as a questioning power, as a modality of power that operates through the activity of questioning and contestation that it animates.

Keywords:   Egypt, secularity, religiosity, religious state, secularism, questioning power

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