Forum: On ‘When One Religious Extremism Unmasks Another’ by Johan van der Walt


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In New Perspectives vol. 24 (1), 2016, we published a provocative intervention piece by Johan van der Walt on the parallels between ordoliberalism and Islamic extremism in Europe. Drawing on a concept advanced by Navid Kermani in relation to aspects of Islam, van der Walt argued that ordoliberalism has undergone a ‘de-hermeneutic’ transformation at the hands of some of its adherents to become an uninterpretable fundamentalism. He went on to argue that the pervasive influence of such extremist ordoliberalism - from market-first policies and lack of social investment to trying to do policing ‘on the cheap’ – could actually be related to the political violence conducted by those often labelled as Islamist extremists. Furthermore, van der Walt claimed that this de-hermeneutic, fundamentalist tendency in ordoliberalism could be traced to particular understandings of its roots in German Protestantism.

To say that this intervention piece provoked strong reactions would be an understatement. We are delighted, therefore, to now host a forum that showcases a variety of scholarly perspectives on Johan van der Walt’s ‘When One Religious Extremism Unmasks Another’. The discussion here is not for the faint-hearted and we are proud to present this forum as an example of the potential but also the difficulty of interdisciplinary exchange - as well as a much needed debate on the contested social and political implications of ordoliberalism.

Featuring: Tim Krieger & Malte Dold, Josef Hien, Charlotte Heath-Kelly, Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet, Filipe dos Reis, Ben Kamis & Johan van der Walt. 

Original Article available here (password: 1_IIR_NewPerspectives_4_2016)