Religion in the Public Sphere: Canadian Case Studies

Religion in the Public Sphere: Canadian Case Studies

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Edited by Solange Lefebvre and Lori G. Beaman
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2014
World Rights
352 Pages 2 Images
ISBN 9781442626300
Published Mar 2014
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ISBN 9781442648623
Published Apr 2014
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ebook (EPUB format)
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The place of religion in the public realm is the subject of frequent and lively debate in the media, among academics and policymakers, and within communities. With this edited collection, Solange Lefebvre and Lori G. Beaman bring together a series of case studies of religious groups and practices from all across Canada that re-examine and question the classic distinction between the public and private spheres.

Religion in the Public Sphere explores the public image of religious groups, legal issues relating to “reasonable accommodations,” and the role of religion in public services and institutions like health care and education. Offering a wide range of contributions from religious studies, political science, theology, and law, Religion in the Public Sphere presents emerging new models to explain contemporary relations between religion, civil society, the private sector, family, and the state.

Solange Lefebvre is a professor and the Chair of Religion, Culture, and Society in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the Université de Montréal.

Lori G. Beaman is a professor and Canada Research Chair in the Contextualization of Religion in a Diverse Canada in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa.



Contributing Authors


Lori G. Beaman (University of Ottawa, Classics and Religious Studies) and Solange Lefebvre (Université de Montréal, Theology and Religious Sciences), Religion in the Public Sphere: An Introduction

Part I - The Public Private Divide

Chapter 1

Paul Bowlby (Saint Mary’s University, Political Science), Canadian Social Imaginaries: Re-examining Religion and Secularization

Chapter 2

Lori G. Beaman, Between the Public and the Private: Governing Religious Expression

Chapter 3

Peter Beyer (University of Ottawa, Religious Studies), Regional Differences and Continuities at the Intersection of Culture and Religion: A Case Study of Immigrant and Second Generation Young Adults in Canada

Part II – Private Life


Chapter 4

Rubina Ramji (Cape Breton University, Philosophy and Religious Studies), Maintaining and Nurturing an Islamic Identity in Canada—Online and Offline

Chapter 5

Yolande Cohen (Université de Montréal, History) and Yann Scioldo-Zürcher (National Centre for Scientific Researches), Maghrebi Jewish Migrations and Religious Marriage in Paris and Montréal, 1954-1980

Chapter 6

Nancy Nason-Clark (University of New Brunswick, Sociology), Talking about Domestic Violence and Communities of Faith in the Public Sphere: Celebrations and Challenges

Part III – The Public/Private Continuum

Chapter 7

Solange Lefebvre, Beyond Religious Accommodation in the Workplace. A Philosophy of Diversity

Chapter 8

Margarita A. Mooney (Yale University, Sociology), Religion and the Incorporation of Haitian Migrants in Montréal

Chapter 9

Kamala Elizabeth Nayar (Kwantlen Polytechnic University, South Asian Studies), The Intersection of Religious Identity and Visible Minority Status: The Case of Sikh Youth in British Columbia

Chapter 10

Paul Allen (Concordia University, Theological Studies), Curricular Heresy: Theological Religious Studies and the Assessment of Religious Pluralism in Canada

Part IV – Public Life

Chapter 11

Clark Banack (York University, Political Science), Conservative Christianity, Anti-Statism and Alberta’s Public Sphere: The Curious Case of Bill 44

Chapter 12

Pascale Fournier (University of Ottawa, Law, Professor and Vice-Dean) and Erica See (University of Ottawa, Law, Doctoral Student), The “Naked Face” of Secular Exclusion: Bill 94 and the Privatization of Belief

Chapter 13

Phillip Connor (Pew Research Centre, Forum on Religion & Public Life, Research Associate) and Matthias Koenig (University of Göttingen, Sociology/Sociology of Religion), Religion and the Socio-Economic Integration of Immigrants Across Canada


Solange Lefebvre and Lori G. Beaman

“The essays in Religion in the Public Sphere outline many of the different ways in which religion plays a role in the constitution of the public and private spheres of life in Canada. In fact, they go a long way in clarifying the uniqueness of the Canadian context in relation to the issue.”

Leona Anderson, Professor Emerita, Department of Religious Studies, University of Regina

“This rich and stimulating collection will be welcomed by scholars and students alike, both in the social sciences and in schools of religion and theology.”

David Lyon, Department of Sociology, Queen's University

‘A very worthwhile book which should be widely read.’

Frederick Jones, British Journal of Canadian Studies vol 29:02:2016

‘Characterized by fine scholarship, this book will be useful to many interested in issues of religion in the public sphere.’

S.C. Pearson, Choice vol 52:03:2014