Cover

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Frontmatter

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgements

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p. ix

This collection of essays was born in the matrix of a multi-year, interdisciplinary research project on pluralism at the Institute for Christian Studies, made possible by a three-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I wish to thank Martin Rumscheidt, Publications Officer of the Canadian Corporation for the Studies in Religion, for his help in shepherding the ...

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Introduction: Exclusions and Inclusions: Dilemmas of Difference

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pp. 1-10

For much of human history there were neighbours and there were strangers. Neighbours were the people down the street, no matter the real differences, with whom we have lived in greater or lesser communality, familiarity, and sameness. Strangers were the aliens from far countries about whom we heard tales, sometimes exotic tales of difference, but seldom met. If, ...

Part I: Dilemmas of Difference

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1. Plotting the Margins: A Historical Episode in the Management of Social Plurality

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pp. 13-36

Contemporary Western societies have become acutely sensitive to the existence of cultural (linguistic, religious, social, etc.) pluralities in their midst. Indeed, many contemporary social and cultural theorists have come to share a way of articulating this sensitivity which assumes (if only as an unintentional rhetorical effect) that present acknowledgement of, and respect ...

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2. Consequences of Liberalism: Ideological Domination in Rorty's Public/Private Split

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pp. 37-50

This metaphilosophical paper discusses an aspect of the long history of reason as a barrier to religion, by focussing on Richard Rorty's efforts at rescuing liberal tolerance. Liberal Rorty tries to avoid liberalism's interference with tolerance resulting from its imposition of an alleged common and neutral reason on the public. Via his own attachment to a public/private split, ...

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3. Indoctrination and Assimilation in Plural Settings

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pp. 51-73

A twofold problem faces Canadian education. The first fold involves the indoctrination debate, still unsettled after several decades, yet still bearing decisively on educational policy. The second fold involves the changing Canadian educational landscape, now obviously characterized by increasing cultural, religious, and linguistic plurality. This plurality manifests ...

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4. "Woman" in the Plural: Negotiating Sameness and Difference in Feminist Theory

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pp. 74-90

One of its most contested features has to do with A whether there is an essential similarity between women and men, or whether there is an essential difference between them. Underlying these disagreements is the assumption that all women are essentially the same (as are all men). Recently, the focus has shifted to this very assumption. Arguably, as ...

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5. Religious Conflicts, Public Policy, and Moral Authority: Reflections on Christian Faith and Homosexual Rights in a Plural Society

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pp. 91-126

In the area of public justice, the legislator faces notorious difficulties in balancing the rights of different moral communities within a plural society. If different communities participate in public debate preceding such legislation, it is not unusual for a community to press for the universalization of its own morality. Such pressure can be particularly strong if a community ...

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6. Rethinking the Family: Belonging, Respecting, and Connecting

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pp. 127-150

Contemporary sociology of the family and the field of family therapy are both undergoing great upheavals in the nature of theorizing about the family. Reflecting the increased variety in family life and in family forms, and especially concerned with high levels of violence in families,1 feminist and postmodern theorists are calling for new conceptualizations of the ...

Part II: Negotiations of Difference

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7. Female Genital Mutilation: An Examination of a Harmful Traditional Practice in a Canadian Context

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pp. 153-169

... it a major health concern for nearly two decades, until recently few North Americans were aware that over eighty million females worldwide have been subjected to some form of ritual genital mutilation.4 The fact that some recent immigrants to Canada (and other Western nations) plan to continue this practice in their new homes has sparked outrage, confusion, and controversy. This ...

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8. Violent Asymmetry: The Shape of Power in the Current Debate over the Morality of Homosexuality

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pp. 170-185

Our society is currently in the throes of an emotionally exhausting dispute over what constitutes appropriate levels of tolerance, recognition, and acceptance of the homosexual sisters and brothers who live in, and contribute to, our communities. This dispute is so charged because, in the growing lesbian and gay political struggle for protection, recognition, and ...

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9. Native Self-government: Between the Spiritual Fire and the Political Fire

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pp. 186-199

News stories made much of the religious ceremonies surrounding the official signing of the historic Aboriginal self-government agreement in Manitoba on 17 December 1994: the opening prayer, the "sacred" peace pipe, the closing song.2 By contrast, most writing about Aboriginal self-government is devoid of any mention of religion or spirituality. This silence is ...

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10. On Identity and Aesthetic Voice of the Culturally Displaced

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pp. 200-216

I will speak as a person who is handicapped by being culturally at home in a rich tradition of Reformation Christianity filtered through a Dutch ethnic background. Since my native cultural neighbourhood is on the other side of the secularist tracks, I feel kinship with the disadvantaged minorities overridden by both a former dominant rationalism and the current fashion of calling any ...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 217-218

Subject Index

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pp. 219-222

Name Index

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pp. 223-225