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Othering, alienation and establishment

Modood, Tariq; Thompson, Simon

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Tariq Modood

Simon Thompson
Associate Professor in Political Theory


This article examines the relationship between religion and the state, focusing on cases of establishment in which one religion is formally recognized. Arguing that religious establishment is wrong if it causes some citizens to feel alienated, we reject the criticism that feelings of alienation are too subjective a foundation for a robust normative case about establishment. We base our argument on an account of collective identities, which may have an ‘inside’ but are also subject to a process of othering in which a dominant group imposes an identity on a subordinate group. The establishment of a religion may contribute to othering, and the othered group may consequently be alienated from the state. However, since establishment does not always cause alienation, it is necessary to seek evidence and engage in a dialogue in order to understand a group’s own account of its experience of its situation.


Modood, T., & Thompson, S. (2022). Othering, alienation and establishment. Political Studies, 70(3), 780-796.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 15, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 30, 2021
Publication Date Aug 1, 2022
Deposit Date Nov 4, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 4, 2021
Journal Political Studies
Print ISSN 0032-3217
Electronic ISSN 1467-9248
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 70
Issue 3
Pages 780-796
Keywords Sociology and Political Science; alienation; citizenship; establishment; multicultural dialogue; othering; religion; secularism
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