Is Religious Indifference Bad for Secularism? Lessons from Canada



This chapter is focused on political discourses about religious diversity and secularism in the Canadian province of Quebec. Asking questions about how experiences of modernity bear on constructions of national identity, it demonstrates that secularization has itself turned into a powerful myth centered on the notion of modernity as liberation from religious bondage. The chapter shows how in the post-migration context native populations evoke different cultural memories of modernity against newcomers. It argues that these debates function as a context which shapes indifference, both in scope and meaning.


Religious diversity Modernity Secularism Religious indifference Quebec Collective memory Catholicism Migration 


  1. Baum, Gregory. 1991. The Church in Quebec. Outremont: Novalis.Google Scholar
  2. Breton, Raymond. 1988. From Ethnic to Civic Nationalism: English Canada and Quebec. Ethnic and Racial Studies 11(1): 85–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bouchard, Gerard and Charles Taylor. 2008. Building the Future. A time for reconciliation. Report of the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences. Montreal: Government of Quebec.Google Scholar
  4. Burchardt, Marian. 2014. Does Religion need Rehabilitation? Charles Taylor and the Critique of Secularism. In Working with a Secular Age, ed. Florian Zemmin et al., 137–158. New York: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 2016. Recalling Modernity: How Nationalist Memories Shape Religious Diversity in Quebec and Catalonia. Nations and Nationalism. Early view. doi:10.1111/nana.12233
  6. Casanova, José. 1994. Public Religions in the Modern World. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Christiano, Kevin. 2007. The Trajectory of Catholicism in Twentieth-Century Quebec. In The church Confronts Modernity: Catholicism Since 1950 in the United States, Ireland, and Quebec, ed. Leslie Woodcock, 21–61. Washington DC: Tentler The Catholic University of America Press.Google Scholar
  8. Fournier, Pascale., and Erica. See. 2014. 12 The “Naked Face” of Secular Exclusion. In Religion in the Public Sphere: Canadian Case Studies, ed. S. Lefebvre and L.G. Beaman, 275–292. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  9. Giordan, Giuseppe, and Enzo Pace. 2014. Religious Pluralism. Framing Religious Diversity in the Contemporary World. Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  10. Heelas, P., L. Woodhead, B. Seel, K. Tusting, and B. Szerszynski. 2005. The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion Is Giving Way to Spirituality. Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  11. Hüttermann, Jörg. 2015. Figurational Change and Primordialism in a Multicultural Society: A Model Explained on the Basis of the German Case. In After Integration: Islam, Conviviality and Contentious Politics in Europe, ed. M. Burchardt and I. Michalowski, 17–42. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.Google Scholar
  12. Koenig, Matthias. 2005. Incorporating Muslim Migrants in Western Nation States – A Comparison of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Journal of International Migration and Integration 6(2): 219–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Knoblauch, Hubert. 2008. Spirituality and Popular Religion in Europe. Social Compass 55(2): 140–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Martin, David. 1978. A General Theory of Secularization. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  15. Meunier, E.M., J.F. Laniel, and J.C. Demers. 2010. Permanence et recomposition de la « religion culturelle ». Apercu socio-historique du catholicisme québécois (1970-2006). In Modernité et religion au Québec. Où en sommes-nous? ed. R. Mager and S. Cantin, 79–128. Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval.Google Scholar
  16. Quack, Johannes, and Cora Schuh. 2017. Embedded Indifference and Ways to Research It. In Religious Indifference: New Perspectives from Studies on Secularization and Nonreligion, ed. Johannes Quack and Cora Schuh, 259–269. Wiesbaden: Springer.Google Scholar
  17. Wohlrab-Sahr, Monika, and Marian Burchardt. 2012. Multiple Secularities: Toward a Cultural Sociology of Secular Modernities. Comparative Sociology 11(6): 875–909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Zubrzycki, Geneviève. 2016. Beheading the Saint: Nationalism, Religion, and Secularism in Quebec. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic DiversityGöttingenGermany

Personalised recommendations