Excluded Publics - Included Privates: The Janus-Headed Nature of the Liberal Public-Private Divide
May 22, 2011
THE PUBLIC IN LAW, P. Charalampos, C. McCorkindale & C. Michelon, eds., Ashgate, 2011
The justification of the liberal public-private divide rests on two distinct claims that are often lumped together: first, that the distinction between a ‘public sphere’ and a ‘private sphere’ is a meaningful way to cognise and structure modern pluralistic societies; and secondly, that there is a meaningful way to distinguish what is or ought to be ‘public’ from what is or ought to be ‘private’. The paper critically scrutinises the plausibility of both claims in the context of European debates on the display of religious symbols in the public sphere. It argues that the distinction between the public sphere and the private sphere provides the framework for negotiating the ‘public’ and the ‘private’ between national majorities and religious minorities as members of the same national community: the exclusion qua public from the public sphere contains a simultaneous inclusion qua private in the private sphere that is premised upon the inclusion of the excluded in the polity as a whole.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: religion, minority, discrimination, national tradition, liberalism, public-private, headscarf, ECHR, Begum, FinnisAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 23, 2011
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