ECPR General Conference
Universität Hamburg, Hamburg
22 - 25 August 2018

Revisiting Religion and Politics Research: Achievements, Critique, Future Questions

Comparative Politics
Human Rights
Section Number
Section Chair
Luca Ozzano
Università degli Studi di Torino
Section Co-Chair
Anja Hennig
Europa-Universität Viadrina

Despite an established research tradition on religion and politics that cuts across several sub-disciplines of political science as well as neighbouring disciplines (or even constitutes a genuine sub-discipline), there is very little reflection today about the state of the art of this research.
As religion regained prominence in the public and political spheres since the 1970s and 1980s, a major concern among scholars was to question the prevailing secularization paradigm. The empirical study of religious actors, and their interaction with political forces, brought evidence to the fact that neither religion and politics are totally separated nor is religiosity fading away as modernization and secularization theories had assumed.
A vibrant academic debate joining comparative politics and political theory emerged. In recent years, the debate in Europe and the US gained in relevance through the salience of public debates brought by the rise in immigration from religious diverse backgrounds, and by new developments in relation to family patterns, reproduction techniques, genetic engineering and euthanasia.
Editorial projects abound. Several new handbooks on religion and politics (e.g. Jeff Haynes (2009/2016) or the Oxford Dictionary of Religion and Politics in the United States (2009), books and edited volumes have been published and new journals (e.g. APSA "Religion and Politics") have been created. The disciplinary fragmentation and, thus, the sometimes isolated analysis of similar phenomena, however, leads to some conceptual confusion, and debate on the challenging questions in empirical and theoretical terms could be of use.
Against this background the Section invites scholars revisiting religion and politics research by reflecting perspectives, methods, pre-assumptions, general achievements and debating future questions. It is envisioned to publish a collection of Papers selected from this Section as a handbook.
Following the key questions or perspectives about achievements, critique and future challenges of religion and politics research, Panels could be organized in three ways:
1. According to sub-fields, which discuss only “achievements”, or “critique” or “future questions”
2. According to sub-fields, which integrate “achievements”, “critique” and “future questions” in one Panel
3. According to “achievements” or “critique” or “future questions”, integrating various sub-fields in one Panel

Examples for sub-fields are:
• Political Theory and Religion/Political Theology
• (Comparative) Public Policy/Political Decision Making and Religion
• Morality Policy
• Welfare Policy
• Governance of Religious Diversity
• Religion and Political Behaviour
• Religious Voting
• Public Opinion
• Religious Actors and Politics
• Political Parties and Religion
• Transnational Religious Movements
• Religious Institutions and the State
• Religion and Democratization
• IR and Religion
• Conflict (resolution) and Religion
• Transnational Agency and Religion
• Europeanization and Religion

Possible Examples for Critique are
• Western centrism in religion and politics research
• Secularization and other contested concepts and paradigms
• The conceptualization of religion for religion and politics research

Examples for Future Questions and Challenges are:
• Relevance of “old” questions or new challenges?
• Secularization (Paradigm)
• Religion and Nationalism
• Radical Religion
• Religion and Gender Equality Policy
• Religion and Illiberal Politics

We encourage Panel organizers to think about thought provoking questions and topics also in order to foster the dialogue between the generations of growing numbers of scholars involved.

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"Man is by nature a political animal" - Aristotle

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