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Municipal inter-religious dialogue in Bordeaux: between the 'politics of diversity' and a Catholicentric laïcité

Abstract : Since 2009, the municipality of Bordeaux organizes an interreligious and citizens’ conference called “Bordeaux Partages” [Sharing in Bordeaux] chaired by the mayor Alain Juppé, with the participation of the main local religious communities. These interreligious meeting is an opportunity for these communities to gain public visibility, provided that their leaders accept to participate in the conversion of religious diversity into unity through the celebration of the Bordeaux “living together”. These conference stems from two distinct histories: the bilateral interreligious dialogs initiated by local religious actors; and the “politics of diversity” implemented by the municipality since the 2000s. After a presentation of the genealogy of these conferences, I will show how Bordeaux Partages illustrates the unequal positions and legitimacies of the various religious actors in their relationship with the municipality. The rule of one representative per religion masks deep internal diversity, especially among Muslims and Protestants, and reveals strategies of election and exclusion. Bordeaux Partages is one component of a municipal politics that aims to recognise the public role of religions, but some religious actors need more strongly this institutional recognition than others, and are thus more dependent from the municipality. Finally, while Bordeaux Partages draws on a conception of French laïcité which has many commonalities with those of the local Catholic hierarchy, other religious actors do not see this ideological affinity as a discrimination. The particular respect shown by the municipality towards the Catholic church is rather interpreted by them as a demonstration of its general respect for religion. The Catholic church is both an actor of the interreligious dialog and a co-producer of the rules governing the Bordeaux Partages conferences. But as this church also appears as a strong advocate of religious freedom, particularly vigilant against the risks of political interference in religion, this hegemonic position is not perceived by religious minorities as a threat.
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Contributor : Gwendoline Malogne-Fer <>
Submitted on : Friday, August 23, 2019 - 9:13:57 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 10:32:03 AM
Document(s) archivé(s) le : Friday, January 10, 2020 - 3:18:16 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-02270140, version 1



Gwendoline Malogne-Fer. Municipal inter-religious dialogue in Bordeaux: between the 'politics of diversity' and a Catholicentric laïcité. Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion n°10 «Interreligious Dialogue: From Religion to Geopolitics» dir. par Giuseppe Giordan et Andrew Lynch p. 146-164, 2019. ⟨halshs-02270140⟩



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