Liberal Nationalism and Symbolic Religious Establishment

Cécile Laborde, Sune Lægaard

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportBidrag til bog/antologiForskningpeer review


The chapter examines whether religious markers can legitimately be part of a state supported national identity. We examine this question in relation to symbolic religious establishment involving state endorsement of religion by way of symbolic measures like crucifixes in public schools. Both the liberal neutralist position, which rejects any state endorsement of culture or religion, and the liberal culturalist position, according to which culture but not religion can be endorsed by the state, are mistaken. Instead, we argue for a disaggregation approach, which views religion (as well as culture) as phenomena with several dimensions that each raise different issues of legitimacy. The disaggregation approach allows state support of religion, provided this does not violate liberal conditions of legitimacy. We consider arguments for symbolic religious establishment based on claims that it does not alienate religious minorities, is liberal in content, and draws on cultural rather than theological dimensions of religion. This is not sufficient to show that the state can support a national identity with religious elements because the arguments for symbolic religious establishment assume a too simplistic interpretation of the liberal condition of inclusion. Therefore, while the disaggregation approach in principle allows for state support for a national identity with religious elements, especially in cases of vestigial establishment, actual cases of symbolic religious establishment, especially cases of neo-establishment, often fail at the bar of equal inclusion.
TitelLiberal Nationalism and Its Critics : Normative and Empirical Questions
RedaktørerGina Gustavsson, David Miller
Antal sider16
ForlagOxford University Press
Publikationsdato18 dec. 2019
ISBN (Trykt)9780198842545
StatusUdgivet - 18 dec. 2019


  • stat og kirke
  • liberalisme
  • nationalisme
  • legitimitet
  • religion og politik
  • folkekirke

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