Title of the project: Secularism, Liberalism, and Pluralism in Catholic-Majoritarian Contexts: Conceptual and Practical Problems. Contemporary debates about the relationship between politics and religion are largely focused on what scholars have called the fact of pluralism that characterizes contemporary western societies. Unsurprisingly, the proposals that have been derived from these debates are intended to address the challenges pluralistic societies face. However, the fact of the dominance of one organized religion (e.g. the Catholic Church) has received little attention by political theorists. As a consequence, the dominant political ideology of our times (i.e. liberalism) has been constructed by neglecting a social reality that many liberal societies still face. In this postdoctoral research project I aim at initiating the process of building up a theory of liberalism that incorporates this hitherto neglected social reality among political theorists. I will investigate the hypothesis that there are liberal societies where expressions of political clericalism require the defense of the traditional understanding of political secularism as church-state separation. According to my view, the institutional implementation of this understanding of political secularism is justified in societies where the Catholic Church enjoys of a privileged status due to its historical political dominance. Ultimately, this research project aims at justifying a political institutional order that might be called liberal anticlericalism.
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