dinsdag 31 mei 2016

A Radical Dialogical Self in Nijmegen (1)

Yesterday, 30 May 2016, I attended in Nijmegen, 15th floor of the Erasmus Building, a meeting of Indonesians (mostly Yogyakarta, Islamic University UIN and Protestant theologians of the UKDW) on their research cooperation of (Muslim) Radicalization. It is a plan for a project in the two countries that is already done during the last four years. The last issues of the journal Exchange (Utrecht University, Brill) has papers of a conference in Yogyakarta of 2015.
In Nijmegen the theoretical framework was not formulated by scholars of religion or by security experts, but by psychologist Hubert Hermans (born 1937). The human self is not only defined by the  self, but also by its environment. A person lives in confrontation (or rather dialogue) with the surrounding people and situation. We are always responding to others. The dialogical self has a multiplicity of positions.
Much more must be said about the theory (which was developed for curing sick people: in therapy). But Herman only had some 40 minutes and also had to give a definition of the Radicalized Self.
Some characteristics of a radical self are: 1) religion is given here a core position, central and dominant towards other positions; 2) they make sharp distinctions between us and we. If there is a combination of political and religious positions this may result in the construction of an 'enemy' that is 'my enemy' and so becomes part of the identity of the radical self.

The Jewish Robinson Crusoe. While listening to this row of quite abstract theories, I was eminded the joke about a Jew who came in an isolated island. He built a synogague to hold weekly services. After that he built a second synagogue. When other travellers finally found him after many years they asked him: why did you build two synoguges for one person? His answer: if I am preaching in my own synagogue I must talk about the wrong synagogue of the others!
 The most interesting question is, of course, how a radicalized self can be cured. How to change (radical) people? There was a link to a website of the Dialogical Self Academy, but also the old professor of psychology had no easy and ready-to-use method for curing radical minds. But it was only the beginning of a full day. Later we were also thinking of 'debunking' those who in the 1960s and 1970s had become members of new sects, called 'brainwashing' at the time. In fact it proved to be very difficult to realize.

Geen opmerkingen: