Call for Papers: State Neutrality, Religion, and Private Enterprises

The Université Catholique de Louvain is soliciting papers for its upcoming conference “State Neutrality, Religion, and Private Enterprises.”  A description of the conference follows:

Debates on the social responsibility of businesses raise the question of the universalist or particularist nature of the ethics upheld by private legal institutions, ethics which may be legitimized or delegitimized by social practices, but also validated and invalidated by constitutional laws or anti-discriminatory legislations. Indeed, if secular States have separated themselves from Churches and cannot be directly involved in religious affairs, it is also because they are secular, and the necessity to protect fundamental rights imposes itself on them so that they become, in turn, involved with the religious sphere, of which they will appoint themselves as interpreters, and that, with respect to the values which are present, often in opposition, in a society. In this thematic session we will question how the sphere of the social responsibility of enterprises confront secular States and their institutions, in particular tribunals, to new ethical and religious resources, thus renewing the question of their interpretation. This reflection on the confrontation of tribunals to particularist ethics in the sphere of private enterprise management will be laid out on the basis of theoretical and empirical research so as to facilitate dialogue between legal constraints and the critical resources of the field of the sociology of religion and social ethics. A re-evaluation of the doctrinal and theological tenets of the evoked ethical referents will permit not only a critical assessment of the data submitted to tribunals in cases of litigation, but will also provide an opening to more efficient modes of interaction, within the boundaries of common law, and of more relevant approaches to mediation, with the contextual data.

Paper proposals should be submitted no later than December 15, 2014 and should be submitted via the online form provided here.  Any questions can be directed to Louis-Léon Christians (Université Catholique de Louvain) at louis-leon.christians@uclouvain.be or to David Koussens (Université de Sherbrooke) at david.koussens@usherbrooke.ca.

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