Sexual Discourses and Religious Conflicts in Post-Secular Korea : Dialogue about Queer Festivals

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:50
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Jin Woo PARK, Sogang University, South Korea
What age qualifies as “modern times,” and what is the main role played by religion during this period? Scholars have proposed various views of the modern age: Hegel spoke of religion from a secular perspective, and Burger suggested discourses of desecularization. Recently, Habermas popularized ‘post-secular’ arguments featuring separation between the spheres of faith and reason. Specifically, how are the roles of religions manifested in a post-secular society?

  This research addresses the “conflicting roles of religions” in post-secular Korean society, focusing on one case of a sharp conflict of sexual discourses (Korea’s queer parade held on June 28, 2015). Utilizing qualitative methods such as participant observation and in-depth interviews, I divided study participants into a secular group and religious fundamentalist group and examined their stances supporting and opposing the homosexual discourses.

  Each of the two groups employed different meaning systems by which they justified the validity of their respective claims. For example, their colliding belief systems – religious fundamentalism versus humanitarianism (human rights) – aggravate their deep-seated discontinuity. In these circumstances of fierce conflict between religious- and secular-minded people over a single issue, what prospects lie ahead?

  I found that this stark separation was caused by the gap between the desecularized religious group and secularized rational group. Further findings indicate that their troubling was inevitable, and in the absence of immediate endeavors toward discussion, societal disintegration worsened. Also, in terms of seeking a novel public path in this struggle, possibilities for peaceful dialogue and tolerant coexistence between the two groups are revealed, based on the post-secular argument of Habermas. Based on these findings, I propose that it is adequate in the post-secular age to embody the public meaning of individual beliefs and the whole contexts of social systems, rather than maintaining only the private aspect of meaning systems.