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Horizontes Antropológicos

Print version ISSN 0104-7183On-line version ISSN 1806-9983


PORTIER, Philippe. The substantivist turn of French laicism. Horiz. antropol. [online]. 2018, vol.24, n.52, pp.21-40. ISSN 1806-9983.

The French secularism knew a dramatic change during the last thirty years. The law of December 9th, 1905 had established a liberal secularism. This model contained a double face. Firstly, it established a separation between the State and the churches: the Government could not either recognize them, or subsidize them. Secondly, it granted to the religions a complete freedom of organization and communication. During these last decades, the secularism recomposed itself. The State established, on one hand, new devices of financial and symbolic recognition; it established, on the other hand, new measures of control of the churches and attempted to neutralize religious expressions in the public sphere. We speak here of a “substantialist turning point”: the Government seems indeed to set up itself as the promoter of a heavy social ethics, related to what some political leaders call the “French identity”. This contribution intends to analyze this transformation by exploring three phenomena: the transformation of the religious landscapes, the evolution of the political speeches, the reshaping of the legal rules.

Keywords : secularism; polarization; freedom of religion; republicanism.

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