France - Chapter 35, Part V Religious Geography, Society and Politics in Europe - Aix-Marseille Université Access content directly
Book Sections Year : 2021

France - Chapter 35, Part V Religious Geography, Society and Politics in Europe


Between the sixth and eighteenth centuries in what will become France, there was an ever- expanding period of Catholic hegemony protected by an unbroken monarchical power. The result was a profound Catholicization of the societies and territories under the rule of the French Crown. A second, much shorter period of contraction followed, between the late eighteenth century and the late 1960s, which began after the French Revolution and the disruption it caused. Post- Revolution France set in motion the progressive disentanglement of the state from the Catholic establishment, transitioning from a restricted system of state- financed religions to the implementation of laïcité. The nationwide transition to laïcité, however, was not easily accomplished and was strongly opposed by reluctant Catholics during the twentieth century. From the 1960s, the de- Catholicization (both institutional and cultural) of French society was accelerated by declining religious practice. During the 1970s and 1980s, however, just as laïcité seemed finally to be gaining some stability, a new religious pluralism asserted itself, resulting from immigration and new converts. The system of laïcité, though at times conflictual, was generally successful in its attempts to open a market in religion. That said, French society today seems less tolerant and more divided, with some social classes and particular minority communities feeling under attack (Fourquet, 2019). The fragmentation of Islam, a growing tendency towards radicalization, as well as the threat of international terrorism, have provoked both political polarization and populist reactions. This chapter covers the various stages in this turbulent story.
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hal-03937154 , version 1 (13-01-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-03937154 , version 1


Blandine Chelini-Pont. France - Chapter 35, Part V Religious Geography, Society and Politics in Europe. The Oxford Handbook on Religion and Europe- Edited by Grace Davie and Lucian N. Leustean, 888 p., 2021, 9780198834267. ⟨hal-03937154⟩
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