Amphis pour Tous - Secularism in France at the beginning of the 21st century: a look back at some preconceived ideas

April 5th 2018 18:30 - April 5, 2018 8:00 PM

The conference "Laïcité en France au début du XXIème siècle - Retour sur quelques idées reçues", presented by Clément Benelbaz, Senior Lecturer Centre de Droit Privé et Public des Obligations et de la Consommation (CDPPOC) at the Université Savoie Mont Blanc Faculty of Law (USMB) will take place on. Thursday, April 5, 2018 at 6:30pm in Albertville (Le Dôme Cinéma, 135 place de l'Europe).

It will also be held on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 7:30pm in Annemasse (Château Rouge, 1 route de Bonneville).


Secularism is a cornerstone of the French Republic. Although it has featured prominently in public debate in recent years, it can sometimes be a source of tension, no doubt because it is often misunderstood or over-interpreted. Elected representatives and public figures frequently invoke the Law of 1905 to advocate certain measures or oppose others, ultimately dictating what secularism is or is not. Some of their proposals, particularly when they involve increasing the number of exceptions to the principle of secularism (e.g., by increasing the possibilities for funding religious denominations, helping them to build buildings, etc.), sometimes run counter to the original meaning of secularism, i.e., as it was conceived in 1905, leading to a degree of confusion.

In reality, however, secularism and the 1905 law remain coherent, clear and modern. Indeed, many questions find solutions in the very text or spirit of the 1905 law. Using examples from our daily lives, the speaker will examine the meaning of secularism, as it has historically been understood, and its applications in public services (pupils, parents accompanying school outings), as well as in the public arena (Christmas cribs, etc.).