Mapping the Legal Boundaries of Belonging: Religion and Multiculturalism from Israel to Canada

Mapping the Legal Boundaries of Belonging: Religion and Multiculturalism from Israel to Canada

by Rene Provost (Editor)


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For several decades, culture played a central role in challenging the liberal tradition. More recently however, religion has re-emerged as one of the central challenges facing Western liberal societies' conception of multiculturalism. Mapping the Legal Boundaries of Belonging explores the complex relationship between religion and multiculturalism and the role of the state and law in the creation of boundaries.

The intersection between religion, nationalism and other vectors of difference in Canada and Israel offer an ideal laboratory in which to examine multiculturalism in particular and the governance of diversity in general. The contributors to this volume investigate concepts of religious difference and diversity and the ways in which these two states and legal systems understand and respond to them. As a consequence of a purportedly secular human rights perspective, they show, state laws may appear to define religious identity in a way that contradicts the definition found within a particular religion. Both state and religion make the same mistake if they take a court decision that emphasizes individual belief and practice as effecting a direct modification of a religious norm: the court lacks the power to change the authoritative internal definition of who belongs to a particular faith. Similarly, in the pursuit of a particular model of social diversity, the state may adopt policies that imply a particular private/public distinction foreign to some religious traditions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199383016
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/02/2014
Series: Religion and Global Politics Series
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

René Provost is a Professor of Law at McGill University, where he was the founding Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. He holds degrees from the Université de Montréal, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Oxford. He teaches Public International Law, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, Legal Anthropology, and various courses in legal theory.

Table of Contents

Introduction - Let Us Compare Mythologies, Caylee Hong and René Provost

Part I - Multiculturalism and Western Secularism
Chapter 1 - The Christian Roots of the Secular State, Silvio Ferrari
Chapter 2 - Conflicting Visions of Political Space, Suzanne Last Stone
Chapter 3 - Human Rights and Secularism: Arendt, Asad and Milbank as Critics of the Secular Foundations of Human Rights, Shai Lavi

Part II - Multiculturalism and Religious Freedom as Swords or Shields
Chapter 4 - Religious Freedom as 'Reflexive Law', Ino Augsberg
Chapter 5 - The Distinctiveness of Religious Liberty, Víctor M. Muñiz-Fraticelli

Part III - Negotiating Identity Between State and Religion
Chapter 6 - 'Inside Out/ Outside In': Co-Existence and Cross-Pollination of Religion and State, Shauna Van Praagh
Chapter 7 - Who Is a Jew and The Law - Between London and Jerusalem, Daphne Barak-Erez

Part IV - Whose Voice? Which Truth? One or Many?
Chapter 8- A Dialogue Between a Liberal and an Ultra-Orthodox on the Exclusion of Women from Torah Study, Menachem Mautner
Chapter 9 - Religious Claims as Public Reason? Polygamy as a Case Study, Angela Campbell

Part V - Multiculturalism, Religion and the Geography of Power
Chapter 10 - The Multicultural Nature of the Religious Accommodations for the Palestinian-Arab Minority in Israel: A Curse or a Blessing?, Michael M. Karayanni
Chapter 11 - Localizing Religion in a Jewish State, Yishai Blank


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