Religion, Education, and Law

The Convergence of Normativities in the Ethics and Religious Culture Program in Québec

in Journal of Law, Religion and State
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Religion and state, more specifically religion and law, and religion and education are sub-fields that have received considerable scholarly attention. The interstices between these fields have been much less scrutinized, although it is within these spaces where the particular normativities produced and managed by state, law, and religion can be critically assessed, and where the nature of their interaction can be evaluated. We examine the intersecting normativities of religion with the secular public sphere, with education, and with the law, and their discursive fields with respect to the Programme d’Éthique et culture religieuse (ECR) of the Québec Ministry of Education. The distinct interests associated with these discursive fields meet at bases of common concern: religious pluralism, accommodation, and social cohesion. A common discourse emerges here that is informed by what critics identify as the World Religions Paradigm (WRP). Rather than examine the ECR simply with respect to its dependence on the WRP, we show how the discourses of the general public, education, and law in Québec and Canada meet to reinforce the WRP to produce a singular normativity that determines the shape of public discourses and representations of religion. In its effort to manage religious freedom and promote multiculturalism, the state (legislatively, legally, and educationally) generates the concrete terms by which citizens are to enact both. The logic of the overlapping normativities in the management of religious freedom and promotion of religious pluralism by the state creates the concrete terms by which religious identity and citizenship are defined.

Religion, Education, and Law

The Convergence of Normativities in the Ethics and Religious Culture Program in Québec

in Journal of Law, Religion and State



  • 8

    Maud Blair and David Gillborn“Face up to racism; Platform; Opinion,” Times Educational Supplement 1999. Retrieved 1 March 2015 For scholarly treatment of contestations of recent programs of religious education in Britain we find the following works especially useful: T. Modood and Stephen May “Multiculturalism and Education in Britain: An Internally Contested Debate” 35.3 International Journal of Educational Research (2001) 305–317; Mark Chater and Clive Erricker Does Religious Education Have a Future?: Pedagogical and Policy Prospects (2013).

  • 9

    Fraser Giles“Religious studies teaching is pathetic – either improve it, or ditch it,” The Guardian2014. Retrieved 5 December 2014

  • 10

     Quoted in Suzanne Owen“The World Religions Paradigm: Time for a Change” 10.3 Arts & Humanities in Higher Education (2011) 254.

  • 16

     Quoted in Owensupra note 10.

  • 22

     See both McDonoughsupra note 17 and Stephen Macedo “Liberal Civic Education and Religious Fundamentalism: The Case of God v. John Rawls?” 105.3 Ethics (1995) 485.

  • 23

    McDonoughibid. 225.

  • 29

    Lerouxsupra note 23.

  • 31

    Elizabeth Pritchard“Seriously What Does ‘Taking Religion Seriously’ Mean?” 78.4 Journal of the American Academy of Religion (2010) 1089.

  • 33

    Talal Asad“Muslims as a ‘Religious Minority’ in Europe,” in supra note 3.

  • 40

    Randsupra note 36.

  • 43

    Barilsupra note 37 emphasis added.

  • 46

    Macedosupra note 20 468 496.

  • 47

    Barilsupra note 37.

  • 48

    Bergersupra note 21 10.


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