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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines major developments shaping contemporary debates about religion and secularism in public and political life and the role of women and feminism therein. It considers, from a gender perspective, debates in normative political theory about religion, secularism, and the Habermasian public sphere. These themes are explored as they are dealt with in feminist scholarship on the critical edges of Enlightenment thinking. The phenomena of the separation of church and state, the progressive “secularization” of modern societies and relegation of religious practice to private domains, and the growing acceptance of gender equality, are no longer presumed to be inevitable and interrelated. This chapter considers what is involved in rethinking secularism as a feminist political principle, in a context of globalization and in contemporary multicultural societies.

Keywords: women, feminism, religion, globalization, multiculturalism, public sphere

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