Introduction
in Secularism, Islam and public intellectuals in contemporary France
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The Introduction discusses the rationale for a book about secular Muslim intellectuals in contemporary France. In particular, the Introduction will demonstrate that most scholarship on Islam in contemporary France has focused on debates around the Islamic headscarf or questions relating to Islamic fundamentalism, with little attention paid to those French Muslims working within the paradigms of islamité and laïcité. The Introduction also presents the interdisciplinary framing of the book, which will draw on current theoretical debates in Francophone postcolonial studies, the sociology and anthropology of Islam and secularisation, and philosophical, critical religious studies and critical theoretical approaches to themes such as alterity, belief, cultural pluralism, recognition and subjectivity. Furthermore, this chapter will discuss the methodology employed in this study, namely close textual and contextual analysis of the intellectuals’ published works and public interventions.

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