Reasonable Accommodation
248 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Jul 2013
Release Date:10 Sep 2012
Release Date:15 Sep 2012

Reasonable Accommodation

Managing Religious Diversity

Edited by Lori G. Beaman
UBC Press

Often when a religious minority challenges mainstream Canadian customs, the phrase “reasonable accommodation” and its boundaries are at the centre of the ensuing debate. But what exactly is reasonable accommodation? Does it achieve its goal of integrating the rights of religious minorities with those of mainstream society – or does it emphasize inequality?

Reasonable Accommodation features eight interdisciplinary essays addressing how reasonable accommodation is defined within Canada and abroad through law and public discourse. These probing explorations based on empirical studies and legal cases touch on current hot-button topics such as women’s right to wear the niqab in public, religious diversity in prisons, and accommodating sexual diversity. Woven through the chapters are questions and commentary about whether there really is a religious majority in Canada, how the idea of “shared values” obscures debate, and how tolerating religious differences simply isn’t enough to guarantee equality. Reasonable Accommodation provides a much-needed critical assessment of this phrase and theorizes religious diversity and freedom of religion beyond the meaning of “tolerance” as it sometimes implies.

Combining perspectives from the fields of law, religious studies, political science, philosophy and sociology, Reasonable Accommodation is a must-read for professors, researchers, students and policy-makers interested in religion and multiculturalism in Canada.

Reasonable Accommodation will appeal to professors and students in areas such as law, religious studies, and social sciences, as well as policy-makers interested in religion and multiculturalism in Canada.

This volume will be of great interest to members of the legal community; those who work on matters of public policy and public discourse; members of religious communities; as well as academics in the arts and social sciences. It represents a significant contribution to academic debate in several fields of study. Leona Anderson, Department of Religious Studies, University of Regina
Presents a comprehensive overview of, and grappling with, the concept of reasonable accommodation in religiously and culturally diverse contemporary social contexts. The cross-cultural inclusion of perspectives and case studies from international contexts is especially noteworthy. It is a solid addition to the field, and it will become a much-used reference as well as course text. Carol B. Duncan, Department of Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University

Lori G. Beaman is Canada Research Chair in the Contextualization of Religion in a Diverse Canada, director of the Religion and Diversity Project, and a professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa.

Contributors: Natasha Bakht, James A. Beckford,  Peter Beyer, Gary D. Bouma, Avigail Eisenberg, Solange Lefebvre, Ole Riis, and Heather Shipley.


Introduction: Exploring Reasonable Accommodation / Lori G. Beaman

1 Religion and Immigration in a Changing Canada: The Reasonable Accommodation of “Reasonable Accommodation”? / Peter Beyer

2 Religion in Court, Between an Objective and a Subjective Definition / Solange Lefebvre

3 Identity Quietism and Political Exclusion / Avigail Eisenberg

4 Veiled Objections: Facing Public Opposition to the Niqab / Natasha Bakht

5 Public Responses to Religious Diversity in Britain and France / James A. Beckford

6 Beyond Reasonable Accommodation: The Case of Australia / Gary D. Bouma

7 One of These Things Is Not like the Other: Sexual Diversity and Accommodation / Heather Shipley

8 Religion as a Multicultural Marker in Advanced Modern Society / Ole Riis

Conclusion: Alternatives to Reasonable Accommodation / Lori G. Beaman

List of Contributors


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