L’icône et le foulard. Identité culturelle, dignité morale et reconnaissance réciproque


The Icon and the Veil. Cultural Identity, Moral Dignity, and Mutual Recognition

The paper examines one possible argument against restricting the display of religious icons in Romanian public schools. Opponents of this decision claim that cult objects affirm something essential about our cultural identity and therefore that using legal instruments to protect this identity is justified. Using a differential analysis of two models of identity recognition, Charles Taylor’s and Axel Honneth’s, this paper argues that the legal protection of cultural identity is compatible with value pluralism but only if its defense is justified in the terms provided by Honneth’s theory of identity recognition. However, the argument in favor of displaying icons in Romanian public schools, unlike the argument against wearing the Islamic veil in French public schools, cannot be justified in these terms.

Keywords: cultural identity, moral dignity, recognition, Honneth, Taylor

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