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Modood T and Thompson S (2021) 'Othering, Alienation and Establishment', Political Studies, Online First

1 February 2021


This article examines the relationship between religion and the state, focusing on cases of establishment in which one religion is formally recognized. Arguing that religious establishment is wrong if it causes some citizens to feel alienated, we reject the criticism that feelings of alienation are too subjective a foundation for a robust normative case about establishment. We base our argument on an account of collective identities, which may have an ‘inside’ but are also subject to a process of othering in which a dominant group imposes an identity on a subordinate group. The establishment of a religion may contribute to othering, and the othered group may consequently be alienated from the state. However, since establishment does not always cause alienation, it is necessary to seek evidence and engage in a dialogue in order to understand a group’s own account of its experience of its situation

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