From Maastricht to Brexit by Richard Bellamy and Dario Castiglione

Religious and Political Affiliation in Comparative European Perspective

Civil Society
 
Conflict Resolution
 
Democratisation
 
European Politics
 
Religion
 
Social Capital
 
Identity
 
Section Number
S58
Section Chair
Jeffrey Haynes
London Metropolitan University
Section Co-Chair
Petr Kratochvíl
Institute of International Relations

Abstract
Over the last two 30 years, European political scientists have increasingly been concerned with what appears to be an intertwining of religion and politics, fundamentally calling into question the once hegemonic explanatory power of the secularisation paradigm. Within this debate, the paradoxical assumption is that secularisation - that is, measured in terms of the decline of religiosity at individual level (most visible in Europe) - is today accompanied by a growing presence of religious issues in the public sphere across Europe. It is suggested that this is part of a (global) process of 'post-secularism' whereby religion enters the public sphere of political society and of the state not only in European countries but also globally.

The Section is interested in going beyond the secularist discourse of separation and beyond the public sphere of civil society, in order to address key concerns of the increasing intertwining of religion and politics in Europe. The Section starts from the premise that in Europe, 'religious actors' of various kinds play a crucial role in these multi-faced processes of entering or re-entering the public spheres of state, political, and civil society. Against this background, the Section addresses this research issue, focusing on the interaction of religion and politics from a perspective that concentrates on 'religious actors' and their engagement in European public spheres. Since this is a field where systematic empirical analyses and theory building are still lacking, the Panels would seek to analyse the public engagement of 'religious actors' with politics focusing on the following aspects:

• What are 'religious actors'' public and/or political activities and objectives?
• How do 'religious actors' operate in various public spheres?
• What are the consequences of 'religious actors'' political involvement, and which factors condition the degree to which they are successful?

The aim of the Section then is to identify key factors in the relationship between religion and politics in Europe in the context of an emerging post-secular environment. The Section wishes to search for European religious actors' objectives, strategies, and the effects of what they do in order to enable scholars in the relevant research community - in the ECPR context focused in the Religion & Politics Standing Group with its nearly 200 active members - to gain more empirical knowledge in an analytically systematic way. The section will present panels to tell us more the variety of religious actors with political objectives in Europe, how they are organised, their interplay with other social or political actors and their strategies. This perspective is also expected to shed more light on a crucial but seldom satisfactorily answered question: What are the political effects of religious actors in the European public sphere?

Potential Panel titles

Religious identities and religious affiliation in comparative European perspective
Religion, authority and legitimacy in Europe
Religious actors and the European Union
Religion and political parties
Religion and post-secular Europe
Religion and politics in Europe and beyond Europe
Religious actors' interaction
Inter-faith political and social activities

Panel List

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Number 
Title 
 
P133European Secularization: Views from Turkey and Israel View Panel Details
P213Islam in the Public Sphere and Deliberative Democracy View Panel Details
P361Religious Actors and State- and Regime-Building Following Political Changes View Panel Details
P362Religious Identities and Religious Affiliation in Comparative European Perspective View Panel Details
P396The Catholic Church and the European Union: Rivals or Allies? View Panel Details
P430The Religious Factor in Morality Policies I View Panel Details
P431The Religious Factor in Morality Policies II View Panel Details
P432The Rise and Rise of Religiously Oriented Parties? View Panel Details
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"Politics determines the process of "who gets what, when, and how"" - Harold Lasswell


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