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The multidimensional recognition of religion

Thompson, Simon; Modood, Tariq

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Simon Thompson
Associate Professor in Political Theory

Tariq Modood


In this article, we present a case for the recognition of multiple religions, arguing that states have a non-absolute duty to recognise religions which it is likely they should discharge along different dimensions and to different degrees. More concretely, we focus on several Western European states (or regions thereof), arguing that they would be more legitimate if they were to recognise an extensive range of faiths and ethno-religious groups. In order to make this argument, we deploy a method of iterative contextualism, consisting of two interlocking steps which can be thought of as obverse halves of a hermeneutic circle. First we identify and describe two cross-contextual principles, which we call identification and discretionary recognition. Then we suggest how it may be shown that these principles are already present to a significant degree in Denmark, Finland and Alsace-Moselle–the three contexts with which we are particularly concerned here. This, then, is a normatively robust and contextually sensitive argument for the multidimensional recognition of religion by a state, and at the same time it explains how we apply the method of iterative contextualism.


Thompson, S., & Modood, T. (in press). The multidimensional recognition of religion. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 1-22.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 16, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 13, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 27, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Print ISSN 1369-8230
Electronic ISSN 1743-8772
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-22
Keywords Sociology and Political Science, Philosophy, Religion; identification; discretionary recognition; contextualism; establishment
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