Are Dialogues an Antidote to Violence?<sup>*</sup>

S.N. Balagangadhara

in Reconceptualizing India Studies

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780198082965
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081936 | DOI:
Are Dialogues an Antidote to Violence?*

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This chapter focuses on the problem of intercultural dialogue. One of the convictions in both religious studies and elsewhere is about the role dialogues play: by emphasizing and fulfilling the need for mutual understanding between people, they reduce violence. In this chapter, two recent examples from Hinduism studies in the U.S. are analysed to show that precisely the opposite is true: dialogue about a religion is often the harbinger of violence. This happens not because ‘outsiders’ have studied Hinduism or because the Hindu participants in the dialogue are religious ‘fundamentalists’ but because of the requirements of reason as they are embodied in such dialogues. The chapter generalizes this argument to show that there is no prima facie harmony between the requirements of reason and the requirements of symmetry in certain dialogical situations.

Keywords: Religious dialogue; religious violence; dialogue; violence; Hinduism

Chapter.  8114 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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