Official Republicanism, Equality, and the Hijab

Cécile Laborde

in Critical Republicanism

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

Series: Oxford Political Theory

Official Republicanism, Equality, and the Hijab

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Chapter 2 presents the official republican view of secularism as a theory of neutrality and equal concern. Citizens are treated fairly if they live under a religiously neutral (neither religious nor anti-religious) public sphere. Laïcité contains both an institutional doctrine of separation, which outlines what separation means for governmental institutions, and a doctrine of conscience, which prescribes norms of conduct both for religious organizations and for individual citizens. The Chapter shows that laïcité offers a distinctively republican interpretation of the requirements of liberal neutrality. State schools are seen to be part of the public sphere and pupils, as potential citizens, are required to exercise restraint in the expression of their religious beliefs. Thus Muslims are requested to respect the principle of neutrality of the public space by privatising matters relating to their faith and identity, and respecting the principle of formal equality and non-interference of the state in religious matters.

Keywords: secularism; neutrality; separation doctrine; republicanism; equality; public sphere; schools; religious restraint

Chapter.  10317 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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