The Continuity of the Sacred and the Political Issue: A Socio-Anthropological Perspective

Author: Farah Zeinab (Mustapha Stambouli University, Mascara)
Speaker: Farah Zeinab
Topic: Anthropological Linguistics
The GLOCAL AFALA 2023 General Session


As long as most studies concerned with fields of ancient history, along with the majority of research focusing on the realms of comparative religions and the bulk of theories associated with the discipline of religious sociology, as well as the overarching conclusions drawn from the realms of cultural anthropology, have all consistently indicated the deep-rooted connection between religion and politics, and the interweaving of sanctity with leadership, it becomes clear that no society, be it ancient or modern – especially those which still uphold their traditional patterns and maintain their static character – is devoid of this phenomenon or lacks some facet of it. Politics brings with it religion, and the political sphere assumes the mantle of the sacred, a relationship that has existed since the emergence of human consciousness regarding the justifications for its existence and the challenges of its destiny.

In our work, we shall strive to illuminate this non-conflicting, symbiotic relationship between the religious and the political within the context of the rituals of righteous saints, or rather, between the saint as an institution and symbol of the sacred within our society, in its connection to the political actor, who serves as the symbolic agent in the continuity and perpetuation of the saints’ shrines and the practice of seeking blessings as a social and cultural tradition. In this context, Claude Lévi-Strauss states, “Let the proof be the continuity of symbolic function,” and the primary beneficiaries also derive symbolic significance from these saints within the entire society. Asserting or rather anchoring this premise in Lévi-Strauss’ structuralist perspective, we note the “continuity of human nature within social structure” and the inherent transformations that propel the birth of elements that uphold their laws, as we have previously observed.

Drawing upon field representation, we shall traverse certain elements that unite most styles or other components outside the realm of saints within the social structure, which collectively contribute to spotlighting this interplay between the religious and political within society.

Keywords: Political issue, comparative religions, religious sociology.