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2021 Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Politics and Gender

The Politics of Values: Actors, Institutions, and Dynamics in the 21st Century

Parties and elections
Workshop Number
Workshop Director
Isabelle Engeli
University of Exeter
Workshop Co-Director
Eva-Maria Euchner
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU

Value-based issues have been attracting growing attention in politics across post-industrial democracies over the last decade. Prominent examples include referenda and court decisions on same-sex marriage and LGBTQI rights in Ireland or Austria, European Court of Justice rulings on headscarves in the workplace ,recent attempts to restrict access to abortion services in Europe and the United States, and the growing politicization of identity-based issues by populist parties across Europe. Increasing populist engagement with the politics of values across Europe and during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is likely to intensify the trend in the policticization of value based issues as well a schange the dyanmics of value politics through emerging strategies that combine nationalist and social consesrvative values on family, gender, or sexual orientation.

The common feature of value-based politics and policies is that they deal with fundamental social norms that touch upon, for instance, life and death, sexuality, family, and gender (Mooney, ed. 2001). In that sense, their regulation entails the ‘validation of a particular set of basic values’ which in turn involves far-reaching political conflicts (Mooney 2001: 3). While it was traditionally assumed that religious doctrines were important in shaping individual and collective value systems, the process of secularization was predicted to lower the impact of religion and values on politics and to shift political decisions towards rationalization (Bruce 1995). However, as Norris and Inglehart (2012: 5) have emphasized, “secularization is a tendency, not an iron law”.

Recent debates have provided ample evidence that secularization has indeed not stemmed the politicization of values in political life but has rather transformed the dynamics of the politics of values that is becoming increasingly shaped by non-traditional religious actors (Bruce 2003; Fox 2015; Stark 1999). The systematic examination of the dynamics of the politics of values has led to re-assess the role of religion and other political and social forces in determining issue attention, policy making and dynamics of policy change (Foret 2015). A number of studies assert that the religiosity of a nation, the presence of religious or church-associated parties, and the character of church-state-relations influence the politicization of value-loaded issues and the restrictiveness of regulatory regimes (e.g., Engeli et al., eds. 2012; Grzymala-Busse 2015; Hennig 2012; Minkenberg 2002; Schmitt et al. 2013). Other scholars, by contrast, question the explanatory power of the religious factor in value-loaded policy-making and claim that the causal mechanisms underlying the effect remain largely unexplained (Knill et al., eds. 2015).

The following questions are raised to better understand and account for:

• How, why and to what effect have the politics of values reemerged in contemporary politics?What is the impact of on increasing secularization on the long-term change in the politics of values related to party competition, issue attention, and policy making?
• What are the implications of the diminishing power of religious communities and their agents and the growing preeminence of non-traditional religious actors in shaping value-loaded politics and policy?;
• To what extent are identity-based issues the new morality issues of the 21th century?

This workshop invites contributions that shed light on the transformation of the politics of values overtime in comparative or (indepth) single-case study perspective by focusing – alternatively or in a combined fashion on 1) the appearance of new actors in the politics of values and the transformation; 2) the disappearance of traditional actors; 3) the impact of Church-State relations and secularization in voting behavior and party competition, issue attention, policy making and implementation.

Bruce, S. (2003), Politics and Religion (Cambridge: Polity Press).

Engeli, I., Green-Pedersen, C., and Thorup Larsen, L. (2012) (eds.), Morality Politics in Western Europe: Parties, Agendas and Policy Choices (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).

Engeli, I., and Rothmayr, A. C. (2014) (eds.), Comparative policy studies: Conceptual and methodological challenges (Research methods series, Basingstoke, GB: Palgrave Macmillan).

Euchner, E.-M., and Preidel, C. (2016a), ‘Politicisation Without Party Discipline. A New Perspective on Christian Democracy in Modern Times’, Parliam Aff, 2016: gsw027.
—— (2016b), ‘When morality policies meet governance. Private governance as response to value-driven conflicts’, J. Pub. Pol., 2016: 1–25.

Foret, F. (2015), Religion and politics in the European Union: The secular canopy (Cambridge studies in social theory, religion, and politics, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press).

Fox, J. (2015), Political secularism, religion, and the state: A time series analysis of worldwide data (Cambridge studies in social theory, religion, and politics, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press).

Grzymala-Busse, A. M. (2015), Nations under God: How churches use moral authority to influence policy (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press).

Hennig, A. (2012), Moralpolitik und Religion. Bedingungen politisch-religiöser Kooperation in Polen, Italien und Spanien (Religion in der Gesellschaft, 31, Würzburg: Ergon).

Knill, C., Adam, C., and Hurka, S. (2015) (eds.), On the road to permissiveness (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Minkenberg, M. (2002), ‘Religion and Public Policy: Institutional, Cultural, and Political Impact on the Shaping of Abortion Policies in Western Democracies’, Comparative Political Studies, 35/2: 221–247.

Mooney, C. (2001) (ed.), Public Clash of Private Values: The politics of morality policy. (New York: Chatham House).

Mooney, C. Z. (2001), ‘The Public Clash of Private Values’, in C. Mooney (ed.), Public Clash of Private Values: The politics of morality policy. (New York: Chatham House), 3– 18.

Norris, P., and Inglehart, R. (2012), Sacred and secular: Religion and politics worldwide (Cambridge studies in social theory, religion and politics; 2nd ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Schmitt, S., Euchner, E.-M., and Preidel, C. (2013), ‘Regulating prostitution and same-sex marriage in Italy and Spain: the interplay of political and societal veto players in two catholic societies’, Journal of European Public Policy, 20/3: 425–441.

Stark, R. (1999), ‘Secularization, R.I.P’, Sociology of Religion, 60/3: 249.

Paper List

Title Details
A Multilevel Study of Gender Egalitarian Values across Muslim Majority Provinces: The Role of Women and Urban Spaces View Paper Details
From Values to Power: The Church's Engagement in Implementing Morality Policy in German States View Paper Details
Hard Times and Go(o)d Politics? The Turn to Morality Issues under Economic Stress View Paper Details
Hijacking Religion for the Sake of the Nation – Illiberal Democracy in Hungary View Paper Details
Medical Assistance in Dying: Value-Based Issue Framing through Narratives View Paper Details
Migration as Morality Politics? View Paper Details
'Retraditionalization' and Sacralization of 'Worldview Matters': The Politics of Values in Eastern Europe View Paper Details
Same-Sex Marriage in the US: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis View Paper Details
Same-Sex Marriage, Abortion and Drugs. Political Elites Facing Controversial Issues View Paper Details
Strategic Tolerance from the Radical Right View Paper Details
The Influence of Religiosity and Political Parties on Drug Policy Reform. An Event History Analysis of Reforms in nearly 20 advanced Industrial Democracies View Paper Details
The Irish Puzzle – Morality Policies without Parties View Paper Details
Which values? Investigating actors and issues of the politics of values in the field of immigrant integration View Paper Details
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