Facts and Norms in European Political Theory

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Presentation entitled “’Euro-multiculturalism’, Contextualism, and Moderate Secularism" Abstract In much work on multiculturalism within political theory, what has been called a ‘contextualist’ approach has been adopted – or at least, it is a common claim among political theorists of multiculturalism that any interesting or useful form of political theory about multiculturalism has to be contextualist in some way. I discuss these claims with a view to make clear what ‘contextualism’ might mean here. I distinguish between different senses of contextualism and discuss whether the claim that political theory is contextual in these senses is novel and interesting, and whether contextualism is a distinct feature of political theory of multiculturalism. I argue that most of the forms of contextualism are not novel and none probably distinctive of multiculturalism. The most interesting senses of contextualism turn out to be meta-theoretical or methodological views about how to do political theory. I discuss the more controversial of these forms of contextualism, which I call theoretical contextualism, and relate the discussion of these forms of contextualism within multiculturalism to broader methodological debates about political theory, including realism and historical contextualism challenges to traditional political theory. Finally, I briefly discuss whether the adoption of a form of theoretical contextualism would make a difference for the kinds of substantial discussions that proponents of so-called ‘Euro-multiculturalism’ want to have about the relationship between religion and politics and between church and state. I argue that, to the extent that theoretical contextualism would make a difference, it is not likely to be a difference that would pull in the normative directions that multiculturalists favour.
Periode22 aug. 201323 aug. 2013
PlaceringCopenhagen, DanmarkVis på kort


  • politisk teori
  • sekularisme
  • Religion og politik
  • stat og kirke
  • multikulturalisme
  • kontekstualisme