"Citizens" and their Stance Toward "Religion"

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2 Citations (Scopus)


It is a commonplace among scholars that religion is a problem or issue for
citizenship. Much has been said about what a citizen is to do with his or her
religion. In recent years, for example, scholars have written of a “post-secular”
world in which citizens are permitted to do more with their religion than hitherto, such as bringing it into politics. Some such as Jürgen Habermas (2008),
Tariq Modood (2009) and Charles Taylor (2007) have argued for such a world.
Others have warned against the advent of a “post-secular” world, such as
Rogers Brubaker (2013), who worries that religion is replacing language as a
dividing mark among citizens.
Unlike those scholars, this volume starts by treating “religion” not as a self-
evident phenomenon but instead as a category. Our modern idea of religion is
precisely that, we argue—an idea that has taken shape in modern times. As
I explained in the volume introduction, modernity has multiple histories and
so does the modern idea of religion. The volume focuses on the history of how
governments from the eighteenth century onwards came to define “religion.”
I begin this chapter by arguing that when modern governments reworked the
category of religion, they also reworked what it meant to be “citizens.”
Governments made increasing demands on those whom they recognized as
citizens. One of the key demands made of citizens was that they take a particular stance toward “religion.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligion as a Category of Governance and Sovereignty
EditorsTrevor Stack, Naomi Goldenberg, Timothy Fitzgerald
Place of PublicationLeiden
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9789004290594
ISBN (Print)9789004290556
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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