Due to growing negative perceptions about relations between historically entrenched, dominant populations and various minority groups, issues relating to the need to better manage cultural and religious diversity have been intensifying in many countries. These negative perceptions have recently led to a significant increase in popular support for right and extreme right nationalist discourses, and have created so much public tension that national governments have had no choice but to respond. In the last two decades, in several Western contexts in particular, the issues raised by such combined challenges have culminated in the creation of government-initiated or private national commissions.

This book presents the results of a multidisciplinary analysis, from a broader framework that includes the national public commissions which have addressed the challenges of managing cultural and religious diversity in Belgium, Britain, Canada (Quebec), France, Morocco and Norway (including also other cases of public management in Australia and Singapore). It includes in-depth studies of the issues and controversies examined by each of the commissions, such as the ways they perceived the issues, their results and impact, the key political players involved, the media debates and reception surrounding each commission, the communication strategies and difficulties their leaders encountered, as well as the legal aspects each commission has raised. The reports represent a rich body of work charting the fundamental questions nations face about their nature, history and future while the impact on peoples’ lives tells us much about different approaches to the issues of cultural identity between countries.

chapter |16 pages

Introduction: national commissions on diversity

When reflective processes happen in parallel within several nation-states
BySolange Lefebvre

part I|124 pages

Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium

chapter 1|15 pages

National commissions on collective identity and diversity

Britain, France, Quebec and Belgium
BySolange Lefebvre

chapter 2|13 pages

‘Stories are the secret reservoirs of values’

Personal recollections of two commissions in the United Kingdom
ByRobin Richardson

chapter 3|22 pages

Assumptions of power subverted

Media and emotions in the wake of the Parekh Report
BySarah Neal, Eugene McLaughlin

chapter 4|11 pages

From Stasi (2003) to the Machelon Commission (2006)

The use of commissions in religious regulation in France
ByPierre-Henri Prélot

chapter 5|18 pages

The outcome of the Stasi Report in France

Much ado about nothing?
ByAnne Fornerod

chapter 6|22 pages

The Bouchard–Taylor Commission in Quebec and reasonable accommodations

Collective creation and multilevel reception
BySolange Lefebvre

chapter 7|21 pages

Debating intercultural integration in Belgium

From the Commission for Intercultural Dialogue to the Round Tables on Interculturalism
ByKarel J. Leyva, Léopold Vanbellingen

part II|74 pages

Comparative and theoretical perspectives

chapter 8|24 pages

The commissions

Caught between media simplifications and political interests
BySolange Lefebvre, Giomny H. Ruiz, Karel J. Leyva, Mathilde Vanasse-Pelletier

chapter 9|15 pages

Control, instrumentalization and co-operation

The relationship between law and religion in four national contexts
ByJean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens, Bertrand Lavoie

chapter 10|21 pages

Globalizations of a common discourse

The United Kingdom and Quebec compared in the context of four national commissions on diversity
ByPeter Beyer, Marie-Ève Larivière

chapter 11|12 pages

The altar of victory and the crucifix

A tale of two controversial symbols
ByLori G. Beaman, Marie-Claude L’Archer

part III|86 pages

Other national public initiatives

chapter 12|23 pages

A coherent public policy on religion in Norway?

An analysis of the 2013 report ‘A Society Open to Religious and Worldview Diversity’
ByIngunn Folkestad Breistein, Inger Furseth

chapter 13|12 pages

A national enquiry into freedom of religion and belief in Australia

ByGary D. Bouma

chapter 15|21 pages

The religious diversity conundrum in Morocco

The case of the National Commission for Dialogue on Civil Society and New Constitutional Prerogatives (2012)
ByMohamed Fadil

chapter 16|5 pages


On ‘national diversity commissions’
ByPatrice Brodeur