The Politics of Secularism

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


This chapter describes two influential trajectories of secularism and explains why they are important to contemporary world politics: laicism, from the French laïcité, which distils a particular understanding of religion and bans it from politics, and "Judeo-Christian" secularism, which defines religion as a source of unity and identity within societies and civilizations and conflict between them. It draws attention to how secularism is constituted differently in different times and places, the contestation and challenges that surround and inhabit the various forms of secularism, and the lives that they take on in the world as they shape both analytic perspectives in social science and practical projects in politics and international affairs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRethinking Religion and World Affairs
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199933020
ISBN (Print)9780199827978
StatePublished - May 24 2012


  • International affairs
  • Judeo-christian secularism
  • Laicism
  • Religion
  • World politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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