30 May '16, 9pm

When religion becomes a commodity

When religion becomes a commodity

Living as we do at a time when identity-based politics has become the norm the world over, it is hardly a surprise that religious identity has likewise been commodified. Since the 1970s, we have witnessed the rise of a form of identity politics where the attachment to, and promotion of, one's own ethno-cultural identity has become commonplace - from the promotion of "negritude" by Francophone African intellectual-activists such as Aime Cesaire and Leon Damas; to the "Asian values" debate of the 1980s-90s. The global marketplace has been able to adapt itself to these new trends and developments with ease, and so by now it is hardly a novel thing to encounter expressions of Asian or African essentialism in commodified form: We talk about "Asian food", "Asian fashion", "Asian architecture" et cetera in a manner that somehow presupposes there is such a thing as an ostensibly-d...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/when-religion-becomes...

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