Contesting Secularism : Comparative Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Contesting Secularism
Comparative Perspectives

ISBN 9781138274082
Published September 6, 2016 by Routledge
262 Pages

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Book Description

As we enter the twenty-first century, the role of religion within civic society has become an issue of central concern across the world. The complex trends of secularism, multiculturalism and the rise of religiously motivated violence raise fundamental questions about the relationship between political institutions, civic culture and religious groups. Contesting Secularism represents a major intervention into this debate. Drawing together contributions from leading scholars from across the world it analyses how secularism functions as a political doctrine in different national contexts put under pressure by globalisation. In doing so it presents different models for the relationship between political institutions and religious groups, challenging the reader to be more aware of assumptions within their own cultural context, and raises alternative possibilities for the structure of democratic, multi-faith societies. Through its inter-disciplinary and comparative approach, Contesting Secularism sets a new agenda for thinking about the place of religion in the public sphere of twenty-first century societies. It is essential reading for policymakers, as well as for scholars and students in political science, law, sociology and religious studies.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: contesting secularism, Anders Berg-Sørensen; Part I Secularism: General Lines: Multiple secularisms and multiple secular states, Rajeev Bhargava; Priority for liberal democracy or secularism?, Veit Bader; Muslims, religious equality and secularism, Tariq Modood; The post-secular turn in feminism, Rosi Braidotti. Part II Secularism: Illustrations: Secularism, constitutionalism, and the rise of Christian conservatives in the US, Rogers M. Smith; Neither religious nor secular: the British situation and its implications for religious-state relations, Linda Woodhead; The indeterminacy of laïcité: secularism and the state in France, John R. Bowen; Contested secularism in Turkey and Iran, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd; Secularism, popular passion and public order in India, Thomas Blom Hansen; Index.

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Anders Berg-Sørensen is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. Dr Berg-Sørensen researches the relationship between religion and politics from the point of view of political theory and intellectual history, He is an experienced editor (five books in Danish and four special issues over the last twelve years) and has written broadly on secularism, religion and politics, and political ethics in both Danish and international publications.


’Anders Berg-Sørensen has assembled a strong team of well-established scholars and provided a clear map for the understanding of current debates about secularism, from both a theoretical and a comparative perspective. An indispensable, state-of-the-art volume on a topic of undiminished academic and political interest.’ Cécile Laborde, University College London, UK ’...a superb volume of essays. What makes the book particularly successful is that the essays, even amidst their diversity, collectively illuminate a common dynamic.’ European Political Science