I would like to draw your attention to the session that I am organising at the ISSR conference in Lausanne on the local governance of religious diversity (see abstract below). If you are working on related topics, please do not hesitate to send your abstract until 10 January 2017.
Convener(s): Julia Martínez-Ariño
Title: Governing religious diversity and conflict in the city
While most liberal democracies define themselves as secular and neutral vis à vis religion, state institutions rely on religious groups to foster social cohesion and promote social peace. This is particularly salient in a moment when religion, in its extremist versions, is perceived as a threat to security, national identities and social cohesion. Religious groups are often perceived as repositories of resources for governance and allies in the fight against terrorism. The promotion of interfaith dialog by public authorities is an evident example of such a turn towards religious organisations. However, states also use other policy tools to regulate tensions in religiously diverse societies.
The aim of this session is to address the interaction between public authorities and religious actors in the context of the governance of religious diversity and religiously-driven tensions. The focus of this session is on the local level since conflicts over public expressions of religiosity manifest themselves mostly in the context of cities. In this session, cities are not only conceived of as sites of the presence of religious diversity and religious conflicts, but also as relevant contexts for their public regulation. In this sense, cities, as political spaces, are important research sites to observe how public authorities increasingly rely on religious groups to address such situations. Presentations looking at the ways in which cities govern religious diversity and resolve conflicts over religious difference are invited. Of particular interest are cases analysing how and why city officials and local politicians create partnerships, agreements, and other forms of consultation and collaboration with, and co-option of, religious groups and other civil society organisations. Studies analyzing innovative policy instruments used to regulate religion in the city are particularly welcomed.