Is citizenship secular? Conceptualising the relation between religion and citizenship in contemporary Dutch society

Wagenvoorde, R. A., 2015, [Zürich]: Lit Verlag. 277 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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  • Reinie Alida Wagenvoorde
Contemporary Western societies are undeniably diverse. This diversity has led to polarised debates that often concentrate on national identity. This PhD thesis argues that more promising answers to the serious question of plurality can be provided if we focus on the broader notion of citizenship. By exploring the multifaceted nature of citizenship, the thesis draws the reader towards one of the most delicate issues in these debates: religion. Up till now, little is known about how the debates over religion and citizenship intertwine. This interdisciplinary study offers an innovative contribution to the understanding of the relationship between these important issues. Using the Netherlands as a case study, the thesis combines dominant lines of reasoning from political philosophical theories, integration policies and (religious and non-religious) citizens.
In order to analyse these three perspectives, the author has developed the ‘Big Five model of Dutch citizenship’, in which citizenship consists of the following five dimensions: social engagement, political engagement, law-abidingness, tolerance and shared identity. Based on the results of the research, she argues to leave aside the top-down approach to citizenship that is so prominently present in contemporary political discourse. Instead of problematising the public role of religion and demanding adaptation to progressive Dutch values as part of a shared national identity, the thesis proposes to focus on tolerance and social engagement. This approach enables religious minorities to keep and express their religious identity, and at the same time continue to make positive contributions to society at large.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Molendijk, Arie, Supervisor
  • Jedan, Christoph, Co-supervisor
  • van der Zee, Karen, Assessment committee
  • de Lange, F., Assessment committee, External person
  • Duyvendak, W.G.J. (Jan Willem), Assessment committee, External person
Award date17-Sep-2015
Place of Publication[Zürich]
Print ISBNs9783643906830
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8084-1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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