Political Philosophy, Social Theory, and Critical Republicanism

Cécile Laborde

in Critical Republicanism

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199550210
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720857 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Political Theory

Political Philosophy, Social Theory, and Critical Republicanism

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Chapter 1 offers an overall presentation of the critical republican approach and an overview of the book. It situates the French republican tradition in relation to contemporary Anglophone political philosophy and argues that normative engagement with the hijab controversy requires proper interpretation of the pivotal concept of laïcité. It then introduces the opposite arguments of official and tolerant republicans, and suggests that only a critical republicanism can successfully combine critical social theory and normative political theory. It does so, notably, by taking seriously the way in which dominating social norms in existing societies affect the status of citizenship of members of minorities. It argues that the republican ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity are best pursued through politics of non-domination rather than through politics of recognition, which asserts the positive value of cultural and religious difference. The hijab ban is shown to be incompatible with republican non-domination.

Keywords: republicanism; laïcité; hijab controversy; affaire du foulard; critical social theory; normative political philosophy

Chapter.  11123 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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