Faith-Based Participation in Civil Societies

Faith-Based Participation in Civil Societies Call for papers – Consultative Workshop

Contrary to some expectations, on-going secularization in European societies has not led to a disappearance of religion. In many contexts religions are being rediscovered as tools of social cohesion and resources for social commitment According to Jose Casanova it is exactly the civil society (and not the sphere of politics) that can serve as the arena in which religions can have the opportunity to have a public presence. Religious communities in Europe, especially Christian Churches and Muslim communities can make their contribution in this arena drawing upon their different traditions for establishment of a common ground and society for all. This is also true for Christian and Muslim believers who through faith-based activism foster better understanding among different groups and call for joint actions.

Longstanding presence of faith-based Christian initiatives in the Western European countries is definitely a place from which to start and learn. Additionally with societal changes and immigration the Muslim communities are today increasingly striving not only for their own interests but for the common good, although not without hurdles and barriers. While in Germany Muslims aim strongly at a formal recognition by the State, in the UK a process of informal partnerships and participation within civil society stands more in the foreground. In Bosnia and Herzegovina there has been a long experience of coexistence of different faiths but a historic and cultural developments were such that today the civil society is still in the process of formation, and even more so in terms of faith based organizations (FBOs). A presence of “European Islam” in BiH which since the Ottoman and Habsburg periods has been strongly associated with the State is also an interesting phenomenon worth consideration by the Western European countries. Issues of balancing between the civil society ethics, religious commitments and beliefs, religious communities and the common good of all are to be subtly discussed and analyzed.

Therefore this consultative workshop is meant to bring together members of these religious traditions, scholars and activists and offer them an opportunity for a joint platform for dialogue and exchange of experiences present in different countries in this regard. In most cases these issues are currently debated at the level of national states thus neglecting the possibility to learn from different contexts. The consultative workshop will also be followed by visits to some faith-based organizations in Sarajevo. Subject to the availability of funds workshop proceedings might be published in a volume after the event.

PAPERS ARE INVITED TO ANY ASPECT OF FAITH-BASED PARTICIPATION IN CIVIL SOCIETIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT EXCLUSIVE TO:

– Demise of welfare state and possible role of faith-based organizations:

– The role of FBOs in promoting integrity and accountability in business, politics and public sector,

– Faith-based organizations and social cohesion.

Abstracts of up to 300 words and CVs should be sent to cns@bih.net.ba before 1 June 2013.

Successful applicants will be notified by 15 June 2013. Full papers should be submitted before 10 September 2013. Working language (for the papers and the workshop) is English.

Center for Advanced Studies from Sarajevo will host the consultative workshop and provide for food, accommodation and travel expenses. The workshop is generously supported by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, BiH.

For more information please contact: cns@bih.net.ba or +387 33 716 040.

Djermana Seta

+387 (0)61 792 739