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Anca Parmena Olimid, Istoria gandirii politice. Libertatea si laicitatea in spatiul public european.

Anca Parmena Olimid, Istoria

gandirii politice. Libertatea si

laicitatea in spatiul public european

(secolele XIX-XXI), Craiova, Aius

Publishing House, 2011, ISBN 978-606-562-098-8, 252 pages.


Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, freedom of religion and laicity have played a crucial role in the history of political ideas. In a well honored intellectual initiative, Aius University Press launched Anca Parmena Olimid's volume on liberty and laicity in the middle of 2011.

Offering a comparative perspective on the status of freedom of religion and laicity in political and philosophical theory, this book was intended primarily as a monographic work, because there has always been a particular relation between the two in past two centuries in Europe's long road.

The product of a postdoctoral scholarship among the EU strategic grant POSDRU 61968 (2009) accomplished at Craiova University (2010-2013), the present work says relatively little about political actors, events or consequences. Adopting the comparative analysis through a short-social and historical strategy, the book explores the trajectory of the concepts of liberty and laicity in modern and contemporary political thought.

Any attempt to explain religious sphere and laicity's areas cannot focus solely on historical perspective.

The issue of the political and spiritual transformation in the European public sphere as questions about "new christianism", new European social doctrine, regime of cults, the relationship between the three liberties (political liberty, religious liberty, and intellectual liberty, positive and negative liberty, the new European identity, multiculturalism as an expression of religious pluralism, a new theory on human rights, ethno-cultural status of minorities in multiethnic societies, law on religion and "political market", and more have created a great deal of confusions, dissensions and controversy.

What unites in a complex "com-union" this worth reading book is the free exercise of religious liberty and laicity as a genuine foundation of a perfect equilibrium in the European public sphere. In a remarkable overstatement, Professor Olimid posits that participation and liberty designed the only veridical frame for legitimacy of the institutional architecture in the current crisis of identity. The author also attempts to demonstrate that multiculturalism and pluralism generated over the last two centuries, and especially over the last twenty years, an original, but controversial mix of political thought, historical perspective, and philosophical interpretations that lead to the formulation of a rather eclectic architecture for the European public sphere.

Reconstructing the subtitle of the book, all four chapters generate a new working hypothesis surrounding the innovations of the two concepts in the XIXth and XXth centuries. Moreover, first six sections focus on six well-known theorists: Saint Simon, August Comte, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich August Hayek, Karl Raimund Popper, and Isaiah Berlin.

The author admits that she feels closer to Popper's and Berlin's theories which reinforced the theoretical foundations of liberty as a reality on two levels (chapter 2).

Turning to other well-known liberals of our times, Professor Olimid explains how Jean Dominique Durand and Francis Messner allowed the conceptualization of the relationship between civic involvement and Christian democracy through: the post-functional theory of the European spiritual integration, theory of a new Christian-democrat politics, the foundations of the liberal Catholicism and social normativity (chapter 4).

As the author argues, in this direction, the issue of the institutional image deficit is inevitably accompanied by the analysis of the theory of liberal state as the first level of the establishment of an institutional pluralism in European Union (chapter 4).

In search of a new liberal foundation for European dichotomist sphere, the author turns to the thesis of the separation of Chruch and State as basis for constitutional theory of laicity. From recent data, Professor Olimid highlights four main domains of the present research:

(1) to outline the main understandings of "individual liberty", "theory of citizenship", "constitutional theories of ecclesiastic institutions", "religious market", and "religious market" developed over the last twenty years;

(2) to argue that the agenda of religious politics develop a "determinant effect" on state neutrality in the context of the theory of rational choice and multiculturalism;

(3) to indicate the main patterns of the new theory of liberal state between the "political market" and "religious market" in connection with others types of social, political, legal and cultural representation.

In the same context, a finer analysis of the political and religious phenomena in contemporary Europe would point a more nuanced perception of the theory of religious freedom. Nevertheless, the overall European spiritual reality has embodied a unique character. Despite its unilateral view on state neutrality and rights and obligations of ecclesiastic institutions, Istoria gandirii politicii. Libertatea si laicitatea in spatiul public european (secolele XIX-XXI) is an exciting and stimulating book that students of politics, philosophy or law should read.

Moreover, the purpose of this work is to contribute to an enrichment of the knowledge concerning the normative basis of liberal multiculturalism, the theoretic analysis of societal fundaments, the interpretations of the principles of religious liberty and the relationship between stat-citizen-society of the past two decades. This volume is not only an introduction in the analysis of the current European spiritual reality, but also an inter-disciplinary study accessible to both students, researchers, and all interested.
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Author:Piturca, Aurel
Publication:Revista de Stiinte Politice
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2011
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