Official Republicanism, Liberty, and the Hijab
Chapter 5 introduces the official republican defence of liberty as individual rational autonomy, and the idea that the republican state must emancipate vulnerable and oppressed young girls by banning dominating, patriarchal practices in its schools. It provides an account of the modernist vision of the ‘emancipatory state’, linking together the laïciste suspicion of religion, rejection of the ethical relativism of contemporary multiculturalism, and defence of education as providing the means to self-emancipation. It then explains the sense in which the hijab can be considered as a symbol of female subservience, drawing on the republican imaginary about citizenship, gender, and religion, and on the analysis of the contemporary Muslim revival as a traditionalist, patriarchal backlash. Finally, it reconstructs the feminist and laïciste case for banning headscarves within schools.
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