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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how the meaning given to French laïcité differs in function of sociopolitical and historical contexts and who is using this discourse. It highlights how discourses of laïcité are intimately linked to the religious and its definition, paying special attention to the different meanings given to three concepts around which this discourse is articulated: separation of religion and politics, neutrality, and gender equality. By putting the emphasis on the evolving dimension of this discourse, the chapter also discusses how this has implications for the production of the category “religion” and, more specifically, for delimiting what is religiously acceptable in France. These arguments are explored by paying particular attention to the relation between laïcité and Islam in contemporary France.

Keywords: laïcité, France, Islam, discourse, separation of religion and politics, neutrality, gender equality

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