University platform for research on Islam

Initiated by
the Federation
of European

Supported by
the International
of Catholic

Publisher : Chronique sociale - Lyon



Building community without communitarianism. The corporate world and the challenge of religion

More than at any other time in recent history, “making community” appears as a requirement for cohesion, unity and solidarity. At a time when societies are fragmenting, the call to “make community” very often reflects a weakening of the common good that ensures a necessary living together. The cultural or religious dimension adds an additional complexity. Here, “making community” is synonymous with community compartmentalisation, marked by a self-enclosure. The context in which modern societies, particularly in the West, find themselves accentuates this impression. Greater cultural and religious plurality is increasingly described as a retreat from neutral and homogeneous national unity.

The company is not immune to this type of phenomenon. Confronted with the rise of a displayed visibility, communitarianism calls into question the means of group cohesion. Is it a question of “making community” from individuals or “making community” from groups? What role do affinities, cultural and religious sensitivities play? At what point do demands become identity-based? Basically, what is a community and how can it be distinguished from a communitarianism? What are the signs in societies and organisations of a shift towards a self-enclosure that excludes difference? How can we anticipate, analyse and deal with them?

This is the type of question that a team of academics and business actors sought to answer. For three years, it studied the history of notions and ideas, the changes in the way they are approached, their conceptual and sometimes imaginary background. By analysing the legal framework in France, she examined the managerial issues at stake in concrete situations encountered in the field. The present work extends a reflection on the company confronted with the religious problem (L’entreprise au défi des religions, Chronique sociale).

Plus qu’à tout autre moment de l’histoire récente, le « faire communauté » apparaît comme une exigence de cohésion, d’unité et de solidarité. À l’heure de la fragmentation des sociétés, très souvent, l’appel à « faire communauté » reflète une fragilisation du bien commun qui assure un vivre-ensemble nécessaire. La dimension culturelle ou encore religieuse rajoute une complexité supplémentaire. Ici, le « faire communauté » est synonyme de cloisonnement communautaire, marqué par un enfermement sur soi. Le contexte dans lequel se trouvent les sociétés modernes, notamment occidentales, accentue cette impression. Une plus grande pluralité culturelle et religieuse est de plus en plus décrite comme un recul de l’unité nationale neutre et homogène.

L’entreprise n’est pas à l’abri de ce type de phénomènes. Confrontée à la montée d’une visibilité affichée, le communautarisme met en cause les moyens de la cohésion du groupe. « Faire communauté » à partir des individus ou « faire communauté » à partir des groupes ? Quelles places tiennent les affinités, les sensibilités culturelles et religieuses ? À partir de quand les revendications deviennent-elles identitaires ? Au fond, qu’est-ce qu’une communauté et comment la distinguer d’un communautarisme ? Quels sont les signes dans les sociétés et les organisations du basculement vers un enfermement sur soi qui exclut la différence ? Comment les anticiper, les analyser, les traiter ?

C’est à ce type de question qu’une équipe composée d’universitaires et d’acteurs d’entreprise a cherché à répondre. Durant trois ans, elle a étudié l’histoire des notions et des idées, les changements dans la manière de les aborder, leur arrière-fond conceptuel, parfois imaginaire. En analysant le cadre juridique de la France, elle a examiné les enjeux managériaux des situations concrètes rencontrées sur le terrain. L’actuel ouvrage prolonge une réflexion sur l’entreprise confrontée à la problématique religieuse (L’entreprise au défi des religions, Chronique sociale).

Resources of this researcher


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