NCSR 2008 - Urban Diversity and Religious Traditions
13-15 August 2008, Åbo Akademi University

Welfare, religion and values in Europe

Anders Bäckström, Uppsala University

At Uppsala University two major projects have been conducted focussing on Welfare, Religion and Values in Europe (Welfare and Religion in a European Perspective and Religion and Values in Europe). The projects take place against the background of the major transitions in the welfare state and the growth in religious activities in the domain of welfare. By shedding light on the degree to which religion, on the one hand, and welfare, on the other, are viewed as public or private matters, the projects aim at a critical re-examination of theories of secularisation and counter-secularisation in the European context.

Europe is also marked by increasing mobility and diversity at national, regional and local levels. Against this general background and including contributions presenting results from the above mentioned projects this session will examine the role given to religion in welfare provision within various models of church-state relations. It will also consider the particular influence of religious diversity on patterns of welfare provision. The aim is to offer insight into the extent to which, in a context of rapid de-homogenisation of European society, we see tendencies towards social cohesion or rather towards exclusion and conflict, within the domain of welfare provision. This theoretical contribution will enhance the insight into social change driven by globalisation.