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

Religion and politics

Lise Kanckos, Åbo Akademi University

Some sociologists of religion claim that there has been a ‘return’ of religion to the public sphere (e.g. the Christian right in the United States, the Islamist movement, and liberation theology). But can we also talk about an increased importance of religion in Nordic politics? Grace Davie has characterized the European religious situation with the expression ”believing without belonging”. However, some Nordic scholars of religion have preferred to reverse the characterization to “belonging without believing”. The line between the secular and the religious, as well as the line between the public and the private, seems to differ a lot between countries also within the European context.
The aim of this session is to discuss how religion is transformed by political discourses and practices, and how politics is transformed by religious and moral discourses. The session will discuss situations when religious belief and moral convictions conflict with secular law. Relevant questions are for example how religious institutions show moral authority in society, and how religious discourses are used to give political practices legitimacy. Papers about religion and minority politics, religion and gender politics, State-Church relations, religion and nationalism, and religious freedom are welcome. The session welcomes both empirical and theoretical contributions.