Toward a Hermeneutic of Religion in the Public Sphere: Encouraging a Robust Public Discourse

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Traditional religious communities view multiculturalism and other forms of liberal secularism as committed to relegating religious aspects of life to the irrelevant margins of civil society by excluding them from public discourse. Faced with such institutional and structural derision, what kinds of counter-strategies can religious communities develop to carve out a space for their continued existence and growth? By translating religious worldviews into secular terms, religious adherents are able to actively engage in public discourse and enter into the fray of the public sphere. However, engaging in public discourse in this way raises questions regarding religious identity and a tradition's integrity. My project will analyse the phenomenon of translation which can be utilised by religious communities to develop a hermeneutic to guide their engagement in political dialogue. As the role of religion continues to be debated in Canada, studying religious activity in the public sphere will continue to increase in importance. I suggest that the dynamics of translation provides a key to understanding such religious strategies and their effects on their constituents as well as on the broader society. Translation is a useful frame for studying this issue as it lends itself to relevant areas of inquiry. How meaning is derived, maintained, and communicated in different contexts can be analysed through hermeneutics. For my research, I will consider the hermeneutics of religion and translation by incorporating current work in the theory of dialogue and the public sphere. In this thesis I aim to produce a novel analysis on the religious tensions within the multicultural and secular Canadian society; clarify the tension underlying the deployment of translation as counterstrategies by religious adherents against secularism; demonstrate in what ways the redescription and reinterpretation necessitated by these translations indicate how we might move forward to a more pluralist society where religious, and other identities, are not forcibly submerged into a model of multiculturalism. The ultimate objective of my research will be to show how the resources of religious traditions may be better able to contribute positively to the Canadian multicultural experiment.
Education--Religious, Religion--Philosophy of, Canadian Studies
Napier, J. (2015). Toward a Hermeneutic of Religion in the Public Sphere: Encouraging a Robust Public Discourse (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/28471