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Atheism, secularism and toleration – towards a political atheology

Devellennes, Charles (2016) Atheism, secularism and toleration – towards a political atheology. Contemporary Political Theory, . ISSN 1470-8914. E-ISSN 1476-9336. (doi:10.1057/cpt.2016.13)

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There are numerous existing political atheologies that can be characterised by three movements – negative, positive, and critical atheological projects. By focusing on the critical atheologies of two political theorists, Richard Rorty and William Connolly, this article presents an insider’s view of the influence that atheism has on political thought. After drawing out just what makes Rorty and Connolly’s philosophies atheological, this article sets itself the task of drawing the consequences of a critical atheology for two fundamental concepts of contemporary political theory: secularism and toleration. These Enlightenment ideals can be rescued and re-framed following a pluralist critique. By refining our understanding of secularism beyond a strict church-state separation, an agonistic secularism which promotes an ethos of engagement is defended therein. Secondly, toleration is then defended in its agonistic form to include the practice of critique against conceptions of indifference or respect. Finally, the hard case of the French ban on veils in public schools is discussed to highlight the contribution of this political atheology to an important social issue.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1057/cpt.2016.13
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Charles Devellennes
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2015 21:25 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 16:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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