Monday, February 11, 2013

Paper: "Post-Secularism or Liberal-Democratic Constitutionalism?"

In "Erasmus Law Review" (2012), Veit Bader criticizes the notion of "post-secularism":

"Post-Secularism or Liberal-Democratic Constitutionalism?" [pdf]

"The increasingly fashionable concept and framing of post-secularism aims to construct simplistic dichotomies and clear-cut ruptures between pre-secular, secular and post-secular ages or epochs, in order to paint generalised and homogenised pictures of societies and their inevitable evolution. This conceptual strategy drastically reduces, or even neglects, historical contingency and societal complexity. Against the background of a brief reflection on the possibilities and limits of a transcultural and transhistorical concept of religion, this article engages in a critical discussion of "Secularisation and the Conditions of Post-Secularism" from a sociological point of view and critically reflects on some of the "normative issues of how citizens" of a "post-secular society should understand themselves". In this regard, the main assertion is that we should opt to drop both secularism and post-secularism from our constitutional and legal language, and replace it with priority for liberal democracy or, more specifically, with liberal-democratic constitutionalism."

Veit Bader is Professor Emeritus of Social and Political Philosophy and of Sociology, University of Amsterdam. He is the author of "Secularism or Democracy? Associational Governance of Religious Diversity" (Amsterdam University Press, 2008). See his introduction here [pdf].

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