Multireligious Society

Dealing with Religious Diversity in Theory and Practice

Francisco Colom Gonzalez and Gianni D’Amato, London: Routledge, 2016


With the theory of secularization increasingly contested as a plausible development at a global scale, this book focuses on the changing significance of the religious element within a context of complex diversity. This concept reflects the rationale behind the deep transformations that have taken place in the dynamics of social change, giving way to a recombination of social, political and cultural cleavages that overlap and compete for legitimacy at a national and supranational level. Far from disappearing with modernization, new forms of religious diversity have emerged that continue to demand specific policies from the state, putting pressure on the established practices of religious governance while creating a series of normative dilemmas. European societies have been a testing ground for many of these changes, but for decades Canada has been viewed as a pioneering country in the management of diversity, thus offering some interesting similarities and contrasts with the former. Accordingly, the book deals with the diverging routes that political secularization has followed in Europe and Canada, the patterns of religious governance that can be recognized in each region, and the practices for accommodating the demands of religious minorities concerning their legal regulation, the management of public institutions, and the provision of social services.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Introduction – Francisco Colom González and Gianni D’Amato

Part I- Reframing the Narratives of Secularism

  1. Secularization and Beyond – Valeriano Esteban Sánchez
  2. Norms, Stories, and Ideologies: What We Talk About When We Talk About Political Secularism – Mathias Thaler

 Part II- The Governance of Religion: General Perspectives and Case Studies

  1. European Principles and Canadian Practices: Developing Secular Contexts for Religious Diversity – Kevin J. Christiano
  2. Political Instability and the Persistence of Religion in Greece. The Policy Implications of the Cultural Defence Paradigm – Daphne Halikioupoulou and Sofia Vasilopoulou
  3. Political Catholicism and the Secular State: A Spanish Predicament – Francisco Colom González
  4. Religious Governance in the Netherlands: Associative Freedoms and Non-discrimination after ‘Pillarization’. The Example of Faith-based Schools – Marcel Maussen
  5. From Law to Narratives: Unveiling Contemporary French Secularism – Valérie Amiraux and David Koussens

Part III- A Changing Institutional Framework

  1. Choice or Identity? Dilemmas of Protecting Religious Freedom in Canada – Avigail Eisenberg
  2. Dilemmas of Institutionalisation and Political Participation of Organised Religions in Europe. Associational Governance as a Promising Alternative – Veit Bader

Part IV- Accommodation Practices

  1. Islamophobia in Canada? Women’s Rights, Modernity,Secularism – Denise Helly
  2. Translocal, Faith-based Dispute Management: Moroccan-Canadian Struggles with Normative Plurality – Bertram Turner
  3. Multi-belief/Multi-faith Spaces: Theoretical Proposals for a Neutral and Operational Design – Francisco Díez de Velasco
  4. The Accommodation of Religious Diversity in Prisons and Hospitals in Spain – Mar Griera & Julia Martínez-Ariño
  5. The Legal Self-regulation of Religious Groups: Tackling the Normative and Practical Challenges of Legal Pluralism – Francisco Colom González


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