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The first comprehensive analysis of the philosophical issues raised by the hijab controversy in France, this book also conducts a dialogue between contemporary Anglo-American and French political theory and defends a progressive republican solution to so-called multicultural conflicts in contemporary societies. It critically assesses the official republican philosophy of laicite which purported to justify the 2004 ban on religious signs in schools. Laicite is shown to encompass a comprehensive theory of republican citizenship, centered on three ideals: equality (secular neutrality of the public sphere), liberty (individual autonomy and emancipation) and fraternity (civic loyalty to the community of citizens). Challenging official interpretations of laicite, the book then puts forward a critical republicanism which does not support the hijab ban, yet upholds a revised interpretation of three central republican commitments: secularism, non-domination and civic solidarity. Thus, it articulates a version of secularism which squarely addresses the problem of status quo bias - the fact that Western societies are historically not neutral towards all religions. It also defends a vision of female emancipation which rejects the coercive paternalism inherent in the regulation of religious dress, yet does not leave individuals unaided in the face of religious and secular, patriarchal and ethnocentric domination. Finally, the book outlines a theory of immigrant integration which places the burden of civic integration on basic socio-political institutions, rather than on citizens themselves. Critical republicanism proposes an entirely new approach to the management of religious and cultural pluralism, centred on the pursuit of the progressive ideal of non-domination in existing, non-ideal societies. Oxford Political Theory presents the best new work in contemporary political theory. It is intended to be broad in scope, including original contributions to political philosophy, and also work in applied political theory. The series will contain works of outstanding quality with no restriction as to approach or subject matter. Series Editors: Will Kymlicka, David Miller, and Alan Ryan.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780199550210
ISBN-10: 0199550212
Format: Hardback
(241mm x 162mm x 29mm)
Pages: 400
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 9-Oct-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Cecile Laborde

Cecile Laborde is Reader in Political Theory, University College London. She has recently published Pluralist Thought and the State in Britain and France and Republicanism and Political Theory. Her work on secularism, multiculturalism, patriotism, and republicanism has recently been published in Journal of Political Philosophy, Political Theory, British Journal of Political Science, Political Studies and Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.

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