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Legitimacy Gap - Secularism, Religion, and Culture in Comparative Constitutional Law by Depaigne, Vincent (13th July 2017)

Part II Models of Reconciliation Between Constitutional Law and Culture, Conclusion: Between ‘De-Secularization’ and ‘Nationalization’

From: Legitimacy Gap: Secularism, Religion, and Culture in Comparative Constitutional Law

Vincent Depaigne

The conclusion suggests that the secular state is challenged both by ‘de-secularization’ and ‘nationalization’. Rights and popular legitimacy are necessary elements of contemporary secular legitimacy, but not sufficient ones. Popular legitimacy and rights require an added ‘x’ factor, which is of a cultural nature. On the one hand, the ‘civic’ nation tends to move towards a nationalization of ‘majoritarian’ secularism. On the other, the ‘traditional’ nation runs a risk of ‘de-secularization’, whereby the dominant group tends to emphasize its own power to the detriment of a legal framework common to all groups. The secular state must be based not on the exclusion of particular cultures or religions, but on the secularization of culture (or of religion). The secular state must offer a framework in which identity is a disputed and democratically contested concept, in which particular culture can be ‘universalized’.

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