In Ferran Requejo & Camil Ungureanu (eds.), Democracy, Law and Religious Pluralism in Europe: Secularism and Post-Secularism. Routledge. pp. 86-105 (2014)

Paolo Monti
University of Milan Bicocca
By drawing mainly, but not only, on the work of Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor, I suggest that the postsecular turn provides a more substantial and insightful contribution to the understanding of religious pluralism in contexts of late secularization thanks to its focus on how the self-understanding of religious and secular actors is affected by their co-implication within the same discursive space. The ensuing attention for the processes of self-critique and reciprocal learning allows for a fairer distribution of the burdens of participation, consistently with standards of parity which can be properly, but not exclusively, understood within an egalitarian liberal outlook. The participation to a shared conversation about the primary goods is seen, here, as a primary good in itself. I argue that it is possible to move away from this problem while still retaining the distinct awareness that the postsecular stance articulates about the role played by self-critical understandings of religious and secular views when it comes to the cooperative effort necessary to realize conditions of genuine epistemic parity and equal access to public discourse. To this purpose, I suggest that three further steps should be taken: the boundary between the religious and the secular should be more decisively conceived as a shifting and porous border, the resources of public discourse shouldn’t be too rigidly divided between argumentative and non-argumentative, and the presence of stoppers and enablers of public conversation should be acknowledged both in the religious and in the secular domain. The resulting kind of postsecular perspective will turn out to be relevant at two levels: that of the relationships between individuals who actively engage in public discourse and that of the relationships between religious and secular institutions.
Keywords Postsecularism  Citizenship  Pluralism  Jürgen Habermas  Charles Taylor
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