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Language Use in the Public Sphere

Methodological Perspectives and Empirical Applications

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Edited By Inés Olza Moreno, Óscar Loureda Lamas and Manuel Casado

This book comprises a range of general discussions on tradition and innovation in the methodology used in discourse studies (Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis, Argumentation Theory, Rhetoric, Philosophy) and a number of empirical applications of such methodologies in the analysis of actual instances of language use in the public sphere – in particular, discourses arising in the context of the debate on the presence of religious symbols in public places.
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The Crucifix and the Court in Strasbourg: Press Reaction in Italy to a European Court Decision: Diego Contreras

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DIEGO CONTRERAS

The Crucifix and the Court in Strasbourg: Press Reaction in Italy to a European Court Decision

On November 3 2009, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg handed down a sentence stating that the display of the crucifix in public schools in Italy amounted to a “limitation on freedom of religion” and a “violation of the right of parents to educate children in accordance with their beliefs”. The court decision sparked a significant, generally negative, response in Italian public opinion. In conjunction with a number of other institutions, the Italian government appealed the decision; and in a new ruling issued on March 18 2011, a plenary sitting of the court overturned the previous sentence. This chapter explores how the Italian press addressed the controversy, as well as the main arguments in favor and against the public display of the crucifix advanced in the context of this debate.

Keywords: Secularism; Religious symbols; Religious freedom; Religion in the public sphere; Crucifix.

1.Introduction and theoretical context

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