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Call for Papers for the Panel “Disputing Religion and Politics Research: How Western/Eurocentric is its Agenda?”

ECPR General Conference, Hamburg 24-26 August 2018

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

Panel Chair: Anja Hennig, European University Viadrina (

This panel specifies some of the major questions, addressed in the section “Revisiting Religion and Politics Research: Achievements, Critique, Future Questions”. It departs from the observation that over the last three to four decades a research field analysing the mutual impact of religion and politics has been consolidating. The existence of various research networks on national and transnational level, dictionaries, handbooks, an ever growing number of edited volumes with empirical studies on various aspects of religion and politics such as Church-state arrangements, governance of religious diversity, religious voting, religion and public policy etc. and respective journals is a proof of it.

However, a reflection on the approaches, theories, or assumptions constitutive of this field is rare. This panel opens the floor for dispute and reflection on the subject by taking the Western origin of the religion and politics research agenda as point of departure.

To what extent does contemporary religion and politics research reflect a predominantly Western- or Eurocentric agenda? What justifies such perspective? Which decentralizing perspectives (empirically or theoretically) do exist or are desirable?

West- or Eurocentrism here implies primarily a reference to the liberal-democratic separation principle, and, thus, to the normative assumption that religion and politics/Churches and state ought to be separated or constitute separate spheres; a still dominant perspective despite the fact that politico-religious cooperation or overlaps of both spheres is a matter of fact also in the global West. Such a perspective reflects not only the normative impact of the secularization (or nowadays rather differentiation) paradigm. The separation principle grounded in Western liberal thinking structures also empirical research on religion and politics. An example would be the widely used analytical distinction between religious and political actors or factors.

Paper givers may also propose a different understanding of “West-or Eurocentrism” as focal point for critically revisiting the state of the art of religion and politics research. Counter arguments are welcomed as well!

Scholars are invited to submit a proposal of max. 350 words that outlines the major arguments in relation to the central questions. Such arguments may be based on (comparative) case studies or reflect theoretical or conceptual thoughts.

Please submit your proposals (350 words) to latest by 1 February 2018!

Please consider also our Call for Panels for the Section “Revisiting Religion and Politics Research” at the ECPR General Conference 2018:

Dr. Anja Hennig
Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin / Lecturer and Researcher
Lehrstuhl für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft / Chair of Comparative Politics
Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences
Europa-Universität Viadrina / European University Viadrina
in / at Frankfurt/Oder