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Revealing Democracy

Secularism and Religion in Liberal Democratic States


Chantal Maillé, Greg M. Nielsen and Danièle Salée

Anxieties over the Islamic face covering and over the proper management of otherness in liberal democracies seem to have reached a new peak with the introduction of legislation banning the burka in France and Belgium, and recent proposals for similar statutes in Quebec. What assumptions are contained within Western secularism and revealed in these attempts at legislating women’s religious clothing?
This book presents a collection of essays which take secularism/laïcité and the regulation of public expressions of religious commitment as their points of departure, exploring the issues these raise within society with a view informing the public debate and reflecting on the nature of citizenship. Is democracy well served when the terms and conditions of citizenship are defined beforehand by a given group and when these terms are presented as non-negotiable and unchangeable?
Revealing Democracy sheds light on the ways in which liberal states address and cope with the challenges of diversity and otherness and documents how processes of domination may be internalized and reflected in discourses on secularism and religion. It compels us to look without complacency at the limitations of liberal democratic citizenship and reflect on the inability of state policies to curb racism and entrenched patterns of Eurocentric social domination.
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← 6 | 7 → Acknowledgements

The editors wish to thank Alain-G. Gagnon, director of the Centre de recherche sur la diversité (CRIDAQ) for supporting this project, and Olivier De Champlain for his assistance. We would also like to thank all those who participated in the conference that lead to this book: “Revealing Democracy: Bill 94 and the Challenges of Religious Pluralism and Ethnocultural Diversity in Quebec” held at Concordia University in Montreal on November 18, 19, and 20, 2010. Finally we would like to thank Ami Kingdom for her help in pulling the manuscript together. ← 7 | 8 →

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