Democracy, Religious Pluralism and the Liberal Dilemma of Accommodation

  • Monica Mookherjee

Part of the Studies in Global Justice book series (JUST, volume 7)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Religious Pluralism in Liberal Democracies: Toleration and the Dynamics of Social Conflict

  3. Cases, Concepts and New Frameworks for Accommodating Religion in Liberal Democracies

  4. Back Matter
    Pages 183-187

About this book


How should liberal democratic governments respond to citizens as religious believers whose values, norms and practices might lie outside the cultural mainstream? Some of the most challenging political questions arising today focus on the adequacy of a policy of ‘live and let live’ liberal toleration in contexts where disputes about the metaphysical truth of conflicting world-views abound. Does liberal toleration fail to give all citizens their due? Do citizens of faith deserve a more robust form of accommodation from the state in the form of ‘recognition’? This issue is far from settled. Controversies over the terms of religious accommodation continue to dominate political agendas around the world.

This is the first edited collection to provide a sustained examination of the politics of toleration and recognition in an age of religious pluralism. The aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001 have dramatised the urgency of this debate. It has also surfaced, nationally and globally, in disputes about terrorism, security and gender and human rights questions in relation to minority communities. This volume brings together a group of new and established scholars from the fields of law and philosophy, who all present fresh and challenging perspectives on an urgent debate. It will be indispensable reading for advanced researchers in political and legal philosophy, religious and cultural studies and related disciplines.

“This timely volume consists of essays exploring a much under-examined aspect of contemporary debates about multiculturalism, namely, the challenge of religious pluralism. Wide-ranging, nuanced, and illuminating, the chapters take up such important themes as the relationship between religious toleration and the politics of recognition; between religious groups and minority cultures; and between religious pluralism and policies of multiculturalism. The contributors usefully draw on recent examples of dilemmas of religious tolerance and intolerance in liberal democratic states, and several ask about the interface of law and religious practices. This collection reflects the best of current critical thinking about the ethical, legal, and political dimensions of religious pluralism in diverse liberal societies that democratic theory has to offer.”

Monique Deveaux
Political Science Department
William College

“The volume makes a vital contribution to debates about religion in political theory. Beginning with the concepts of tolerance and accommodation, the authors critically assess key conceptual tools used by liberal democracies to address religious diversity. The result is a series of essays that comprehensively address one of the most pressing issues in contemporary society. This volume approaches religious diversity in a uniquely complex and coherent manner.”

“Exploring a wide range of subject matter in rich theoretical context, the authors consider such issues as polygamy, shari’a, religious autonomy, multiculturalism, and secularism”

Lori Beaman Department of Classics and Religious Studies
University of Ottawa


Global Justice Justice Liberal toleration Pluralism Politics of recognition Politics of toleration Recognition Religion Religious pluralism Toleration

Editors and affiliations

  • Monica Mookherjee
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Politics, International, Relations & Philosophy (SPIRE)Keele UniversityKeele, Staffs.United Kingdom

Bibliographic information