The West Vs. the Rest – Locating the “Transnational” in Discourses on Islam
In this paper, we want to address two interrelated issues: On the one hand we will examine how in public media debates in France and in Germany “Islam” and “Muslim communities” are discursively constructed as transnational phenomenon. In particular, we will focus on the discursive positioning of self-labeled secular Muslim intellectuals who have appeared as the most credible critics of Islam and Muslims, since they are deemed as “authentic voices” and representatives of an alleged transnational Muslim community. On the other hand, we want to address the above mentioned gap between the transnational in the theory and the national in discourse analysis concerning the study of islamophobia.
We argue that contemporary Islamophobia poses a challenge to its academic inquiry since the entanglement of this discourse articulates beyond the borders of particular nation-states. We seek to contribute to the critique of methodological nationalism through showing how statements of native informants circulate both at the national and transnational level. Finally, the analysis requires taking into account the transnational scope on methodological level but also the specific embeddedness according to its local and national contexts.