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.