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Political Science in Europe

Europeanisation of Religion-Related Activism? Forms, Effects and Paradoxes

Civil Society
European Union
Political Sociology
Southern Europe
Alberta Giorgi
Centro de Estudos Sociais, University of Coimbra
Alberta Giorgi
Centro de Estudos Sociais, University of Coimbra

Religion-related activism can be described as Europeanized, considering: the transnational activism of religious (or religiously-inspired) actors; the mobilization of European frames in dealing with religion-related issues; the influence of European institutions and legal/policy frameworks in the governance of religious diversity; and the context of Europe-wide debates on religion-related topics (i.e. religious freedom or LGBT issues). The Europeanization of religion-related activism takes different shapes and results in different effects, depending on both the actors and the issues involved.
This contribution focuses on Italy as a case-study, drawing on data collected in the framework of Grassrootsmobilise project (which include interviews, document and media analysis). First, it explores the different forms that the Europeanization of religion-related activism takes considering different actors (religious majority; religious minority groups; LGBT and atheist NGOs) and it identifies the main factors underlying differences. Second, it investigates the effects of the Europeanization of religion-related issues, on the one side, and religion-related actors, on the others. In relation to the actors, the analysis shows how Europeanization of activism is related to both the varying degree of access to different aspects of the ‘EU opportunity structure’ and, more interestingly, to the actors’ identity and self-representations. Furthermore, in relation to the issues, the analysis highlights that, paradoxically, the Europeanization of religion-related issues often makes them a domestic concern.
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