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Continuity or Rupture?: AN ARGUMENT FOR SECULAR BRITAIN

Continuity or Rupture?: AN ARGUMENT FOR SECULAR BRITAIN Page 105 A N A R G U M E N T F O R S E C U L A R B R I TA I N The debate over secularism and public affirmation of religion easily transposes onto anxieties regarding immigration into the liberal democratic nations of Western Europe and North America. The anxious worry that the increasing size and strength of transnational ethnic, religious, and cultural diasporas, together with global information, production, and consumption networks, make a mockery of claims of national distinction and sovereignty. Some caution that while once immigrants assimilated into the modernity of secular political cultures, now diaspora dwellers no longer relinquish their premodern, because presecular, extranational affiliations. In short, newcomers threaten to undermine the traditions of individualism, pluralism, and tolerance that distinguish Western political culture. But not all secularisms are alike.1 They vary, just as their religious counterparts vary. Even those that idealize an attitude of state neutrality toward religious adherence may appear to some to be political expressions of a particular religious base. This objection is voiced equally by those who advocate closing the geographic and metaphoric borders of the West and by those who would forestall that closure. Representing http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Text Duke University Press

Continuity or Rupture?: AN ARGUMENT FOR SECULAR BRITAIN

Social Text , Volume 18 (3 64) – Sep 1, 2000

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2000 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0164-2472
eISSN
1527-1951
DOI
10.1215/01642472-18-3_64-105
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Page 105 A N A R G U M E N T F O R S E C U L A R B R I TA I N The debate over secularism and public affirmation of religion easily transposes onto anxieties regarding immigration into the liberal democratic nations of Western Europe and North America. The anxious worry that the increasing size and strength of transnational ethnic, religious, and cultural diasporas, together with global information, production, and consumption networks, make a mockery of claims of national distinction and sovereignty. Some caution that while once immigrants assimilated into the modernity of secular political cultures, now diaspora dwellers no longer relinquish their premodern, because presecular, extranational affiliations. In short, newcomers threaten to undermine the traditions of individualism, pluralism, and tolerance that distinguish Western political culture. But not all secularisms are alike.1 They vary, just as their religious counterparts vary. Even those that idealize an attitude of state neutrality toward religious adherence may appear to some to be political expressions of a particular religious base. This objection is voiced equally by those who advocate closing the geographic and metaphoric borders of the West and by those who would forestall that closure. Representing

Journal

Social TextDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2000

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