Kenosis and Interstitial Identities

    • Presentation speakers
      • Tinu Ruparell, University of Calgary, Canada


    This paper describes the development and normative conditions for interstitial, hybrid religious identities. Such identities are increasingly common in globalised societies where immigration and interreligious/intercultural encounters are quickly becoming the norm. I describe the development of these identities using Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics, following interactionist theories of metaphor. The dialectic of metaphor explained in these theories clearly describes the hybrid and dynamic nature of these interstitial identities. Moreover, my analysis not only delineates how these identities form and are sustained, but also indicates their normative potential – that is, the ways in which these identities span liminal spaces to undermine reified, homogenised cultural and religious positions. I argue that hybrid, liminal identities can be leveraged to respond to some of the issues faced by communities dealing with increased plurality brought about through immigration in secular, liberal contexts. Leaving aside political debates concerning policies of multiculturalism, I focus on the problematizing and corrective potential of hybrid, interstitial identities within multicultural contexts, specifically their use as emic responses to religious fundamentalism and radicalism. Using the internal logic of kenosis – that is self-emptying – found in Semitic, Indian and secular traditions, I show how such identities are enjoined upon members of religious and irreligious communities towards active, hybridizing regard toward the other. This is a radical proposal. I argue that hybrid, interstitial identities should be leveraged to respond to fundamentalism and radicalisation. I conclude with a brief description of a social network analysis supporting my argument.