Beyond the Believer-Citizen Dilemma in a Polity: a Membership Approach

The article discusses the priority of belonging to a particular community and identification with it. The authors believe that among the entire set of communities, membership in political groups should be a priority, and their membership in state political communities should be higher than territorial, ethnic, religious, linguistic and other differences. However, the devotion of religious believers to an international religious community that does not know official state borders can exceed their devotion to the state as the main political institution. Consequently, they can become a centrifugal force that threatens the solidarity of political unity. The authors define this conflict as the “believer-citizen” dilemma, which poses serious challenges in the field of nation building in China. Based on the concept of related identities, the article analyzes and explains the existing dilemma “believer – citizen” from the position of simultaneous inclusion in various social groups. The authors suggest that such an approach, involving the analysis of membership in several social groups, is useful for constructing solutions to this dilemma. In conclusion, the authors conclude that religion has many opportunities for the upbringing of civic virtues. Ethical principles such as kindness, tolerance, and empathy are widespread in various religions, and they have indeed become universally recognized human virtues. In this sense, believers can also be good citizens and at the same time fulfill their religious and civic duties, which will not contradict each other. For religious fundamentalists, on the other hand, an extreme form of religious identity can undermine their social life. How to create institutions based on honesty and justice, how to build reliable and correct strategies for constructing identities in order to promote self-identification from citizenships and reduce identification based on extreme religious movements, as well as how to use religious identity to create a civic identity on its basis – these are the biggest problems in state building.

Авторы: Mi Zhao, Wen Fang

Направление: Социология

Ключевые слова: believer-citizen dilemma, adhesive identities, multiple group memberships, spiritual capital, life capital

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