The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society offers an annual award for newly published research or thinking that has been recognized to be outstanding by members of the Religion and Spirituality in Society Research Network.
This article explores a productive union between the political thought of Johann Baptist Metz and Judith Butler to address the current refugee crisis. In positing Christian discipleship as “poverty of spirit,” Metz proposes a subject constituted by praxis oriented toward the “Other.” This subject embodies solidarity with past and future suffering. Butler’s work provides philosophical tools useful to make livable the lives of society’s marginalized “Other.” The subject, for her, is constituted in relation to a given social context while also being circumscribed by the formation of an ego. Bringing Freud into conversation with Foucault, Butler discerns the contours of power through different levels of literal subjection. Subject formation then occurs within networks of power. Like with Metz, subjects exist within social and discursive networks of power while also using narratives to “give an account of the self,” achieving political recognition. Butler’s work also highlights the significance of how media narratives “frame” the norms and sites of political activism. Both Metz and Butler are drawn to the suffering of marginalized groups and share a similar goal of achieving political recognition through a performed political praxis. Amid this convergence of their thought, Metz’s apocalyptic subject can be usefully integrated into the sophisticated networks of power within the Foucauldian discursive and psychoanalytic regime described by Butler. Her analysis of subject formation, especially in relation to media consumption, helps to expand Metz’s project of enacting a “poverty of spirit” to address marginalized communities, suggesting that one’s choice of media becomes a component of Christian discipleship.
Adam Beyt is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in systematic theology at Fordham. His research focuses on political theology, theological anthropology, and queer theory. He also has interests in phenomenology, embodiment, gender theory, race theory, aesthetics, hermeneutics, and critical theory. A native of south Louisiana, Adam received his undergraduate degrees in religious studies and bassoon performance from Northwestern University in 2012. He then spent a year teaching ESL in the West African nation of Togo with VOICA, a lay-Catholic volunteer organization. Adam then completed his Master of Arts in religious studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School before moving to New York City in the summer of 2015. His current research focuses on the problem of categories of the human and violence using the thought of Belgian theologian Edward Schillebeeckx and American philosopher Judith Butler.
Daniel Helminiak, The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp. 9-19.
Hans-Martien ten Napel, The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp. 25-33.
Easten Law, The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp. 25-41.
Okunrounmu, Elizabeth, Argie Allen-Wilson, Maureen Davey, and Adam Davey, The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp. 45-55.