Secularism Religion and Democracy in Southeast Asia


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Until two decades ago, the social sciences adhered to the secularisation thesis that stressed the gradual obliteration of religion in the public domain. Recent events show the re-emergence of religions world-wide that has led scholars in challenging the narrative of the modern state and its progress from the religious to the secular domains. The changing place of religion in contemporary politics challenges older notions and concepts of the secular and secularisation process. Yet many initiatives and scholarly works have failed to assess the rise of religion in the context of democratic processes. This volume sets out to fill this scholarly lacuna by offering a conceptual, historical and empirical examination of some of these developments. In trying to map this terrain and spell out the close links between religion, secularism and democracy, this volume examines the developments and challenges of secularism in select countries of Southeast Asia. The fundamental tenets of liberal democracies – rule of law, popular sovereignty, constitutionalism – undergo several configurations in the context of religious pluralism. The aim is to reframe the basic issues of religion and secularisation in a way that their complex reality will be visible in different contexts where the frequency of conflicts related to religion have sharply increased although they may reflect other cultural, political, and socio-economic phenomena.

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Secularism Religion and Democracy in Southeast Asia


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