Female Agency and the Critique of Republican Paternalism

Cécile Laborde

in Critical Republicanism

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

Series: Oxford Political Theory

Female Agency and the Critique of Republican Paternalism

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Chapter 6 presents a range of radical feminist objections to the hijab ban. It first interprets the paternalistic ban on hijab as a form of state oppression, which claims to coerce individuals into being free, in the name of a highly contestable conception of individual autonomy as secular liberation from religion. It then sets out an alternative sociology of contemporary religion to the modernist paradigm implicitly endorsed by laïcistes, showing that the contemporary religious revival is not necessarily a traditionalist and anti-individualistic backlash but is, rather, compatible with ‘post-modern’ agential individualism. Bringing these conceptual and sociological arguments to bear on the moral and normative case, the Chapter then argues that toleration of the hijab in schools expresses respect for Muslim female agency.

Keywords: paternalism; ethnocentrism; state oppression; sociology of religion; post-modernity; individualism; female agency; toleration

Chapter.  9785 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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