Rethinking the 'Problem' of Religious Pluralism in Canada and the European Union
Review of European and Russian Affairs
In recent years the nature of secularism and the rights of religious minorities have come to the fore as issues in debates concerning citizenship, multiculturalism and immigration, both in Canada and the European Union. Unlike earlier campaigns of secularization, these recent discourses of secularisation concern not only the institutional separation of Church and State but seek to protect modern secular society from the perceived threat of various externally rooted religious threats through the
... secularisation of subjects within public spaces. In an attempt to more fully understand this new form of secularisation, the consequences it has had and the debates it has generated in both Canada and the EU, the proposed paper will proceed on four fronts. First, it will outline the earlier discourses and practices of secularisation. Second, the article will posit that we are presently witnessing a different discourse of secularisation, one that is distinct from this earlier form. Third, the article will offer a critique of both discourses, arguing that both involve the deployment of essentialised conceptions of the religious, the secular, and their interaction. Fourth, an alternative approach will be offered, one that seeks to denaturalise the aforementioned categories. The article argues that it is only in this manner that a space and possibility for genuine dialogue concerning secularism and religious pluralism in Canada and the EU can be created.