The return of faith and reason to laïcité; Régis Debray and 'le fait religieux'

McCaffrey, E. ORCID: 0000-0002-8336-9860, 2005. The return of faith and reason to laïcité; Régis Debray and 'le fait religieux'. French Cultural Studies, 16 (3), pp. 273-290. ISSN 1957-1558

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In 1985, Marcel Gauchet wrote of the ‘retour du religieux’ as an end to the social role of religion and the beginning of its privatisation. However, far from an indication of the withering of religion on the vine of modernity, the return of a religious discourse was resurrected by the democratisation of the ‘croyant’ in the mid-1980s. The ‘âge égalitaire’, coupled with the specificity of the ‘croyant’, created a platform on which to challenge the model of laïcité in contemporary France. This discourse sought to re-appropriate reason from the logic of secular objectivity and postmodern self-reliance, and re-signify it within a Catholic theological language of belief and faith. The transmission of religious ‘knowledge’ would also be seen to compete for intellectual equality with the forms and transmission of knowledge approved by laïcité in the republican school. Régis Debray's report to the Ministry of Education in 2002 on the teaching of the ‘fait religieux’ in French schools advances this debate by defending the introduction of the study of religion in school from the perspectives of theological rigour, the indivisibility of knowledge (the coexistence of ‘témoin’ and ‘savant’), and the inextricable links between faith and reason in their production of knowledge with a valid claim for public consumption.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: French Cultural Studies
Creators: McCaffrey, E.
Publisher: Sage
Date: 2005
Volume: 16
Number: 3
ISSN: 1957-1558
Rights: Copyright 2004 by Sage Publications. All rights reserved. No portion of the contents may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the publisher.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:14
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:23

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