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Evolving regional values and mobilities in global contexts

The emergence of new (Eur-)Asian regions and dialogues with Europe

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Edited By Pierre Chabal, Yann Alix and Kuralay Baizakova

This book analyses the gradual fusion of Europe and Asia into a Eurasian dynamic combining institutional and identity aspects. The seventh in a series of Europe–Asia conferences covering regime dynamics, cooperation policies, regional competition, the limits of regions, mutual understanding and cross-border exchanges, it shows that Eurasian continental developments are outgrowing sub-region designations such as Western Europe, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Central Asia.

Ten years ago, before the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), regional dynamics seemed clearly delineated, especially with inter-state groupings mapping out space – the EU, the ASEAN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) – and organisations overseeing pan-continental competition such as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building in Asia (CICA), the Eurasian Economic Union, etc. Today, the less institutional and more macro-economic scheme of an infrastructure and transport network coined as "China’s BRI" changes the research environment.

Gathering about thirty scholars from a dozen Eurasian countries, this book contains views from East Asia (Mongolia, China), Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan), Western Europe (France, Belgium), Eastern Europe (Poland, Romania, Hungary, Turkey) and the Caucasus (Azerbaijan). Asia and Europe can no longer be understood except as Eurasian sub-entities. Multi-dimensionally, the book draws from history, international economic relations, politics, geography, economics, cultural studies, public and private law, business studies, peace and conflict studies, public administration, and even literary criticism to tackle the question: what is Eurasia?

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The evolving stakes of religious identities in ‘the New Asia’: Philippe Gast

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PHILIPPE GAST

Analysing the evolution of the religious identity of the new Asia supposes defining what the concept of religious identity is, and situating it in the geographical and historical context of the new Asia. Such an identity is a major topic for the coming years in a region bound to become an economic dominator with time.

Religion can be defined per its Latin etymology re-ligare. It is a vertical or subjective link that connects the believer to the divinity, a timeless consciousness that is to him ultimate and to witch he aspires as a kind of immortality; a horizontal or collective link, that relates to a community of believers, more or less institutionalised; (iii) a dogmatic link of all believers who consider the sacred text of teachings by their religion’s founder as the indisputable truth even if not verifiable or demonstrable, that is unlike scientific truth.

The deep spiritual dimension of religion recalls the fundamental or ultimate identity of human beings: ‘who am I?: a mortal body or an immortal consciousness, with the promise to access an immortal state, eternal, timeless1, through various psycho-bodily practices (Hindu Yoga-pranayama-meditation, Buddhist zazen, Taoist qigong, Muslim zikr, orthodox hesychiasm…).

The more superficial human identity of a religion affects daily ways, notably food (kosher in Judaism, hallal in Islam, vegetarian in Buddhism and Hinduism…), clothing (Islamic vale, monastic Christian and Buddhist uniform, Jewish kippah…), fasting (Christian Lent, Buddhist ←239 | 240→and Hindu fasting, Muslim2 Ramadan etc...

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