Volume 2, Issue 2, Autumn 2016
Trajectories of Modernity
On Johann Arnason and the Religio-Political Nexus
Some Preliminary Reflections
This essay focuses on Arnason’s most recent work, and reconstructs his developing account of the religio-political nexus. Arnason’s elaboration of the religio-political nexus aims to extend ‘the civilizational dimension’ beyond the Axial Age to archaic civilizations. He situates the religio-political nexus within the Durkheimian-Maussian current of civilizational thought, and fortifies it through engagement with debates in historical anthropology (Gauchet, Clastres, Godelier) and Castoriadis’s notion of power and religion. The second part of the essay discusses Arnason’s articulation of the sacred, and argues that consideration of Ricoeur’s work on the ‘symbolic function’, in dialogue with Castoriadis and Arnason, would enrich our understanding of the interplay between the imaginary, symbolic, and the sacred.