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Spirit and the Obligation of Social FleshA Secular Theology for the Global City$
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Sharon V. Betcher

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823253906

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823253906.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Spirit and the Obligation of Social Flesh

Sharon V. Betcher

Fordham University Press

Rapidly emergent planetary urbanism presents humans with new challenges, such as learning to form attachments amid formerly colonially inflected difference. The hope of “cosmopolis” names the dream of cultivating such differences, weaving them into common destiny. If social precarity nonetheless opens out in respect to the affective commons of social flesh, the fact that we are always ever affectively vulnerable to each other, then religious philosophies, which develop social muscles such as freedom from reactivity, may enable seculars— those who choose to live in the city on behalf of the city— to navigate urbanism by way of alternative values and attitudes that challenge materialism and isolation. As politics begins with the intercorporeal, this theological crip/tography, this cartography employing “disability” as a hermeneutic lens for engaging cities’ affective ruptures and exclusions, maps lines of force or resistance within the city in the hope of ultimately cultivating corporeal generosity and mutual forbearance.

Keywords:   Secular, social flesh, precarity, Spirit, Cosmopolis, Aesthetics, Affect, Harvey Cox, Judith Butler

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