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S​TS = Thematic Session​s​

NRF = New Researchers Forum

 

Thematic Sessions
STS #1
Convener(s) Jörg Stolz, David Voas, Pierre Bréchon
Title Religiosity : Analysis of international and national quantitative surveys
Abstract
In this session, presenters will discuss research based on quantitative data from various international (e.g. WVS, EVS, ISSP, ESS, Eurobarometer, Religionsmonitor etc.) or national surveys on religiosity. Papers may also include mixed (that is quantitative and qualitative) methods. Researchers may present work in progress as well as results from completed projects. Special emphasis should be given to methodological issues.

 STS #2
Convener(s) Irene Becci, Marian Burchardt, Mariachiara Giorda
Title Reshaping the secular in religious superdiverse societies
Abstract
The notion of religious super-diversity is based on a large understanding of religious diversity, including the set of practices and discourses labelled as spiritual. Looking at the factor of religion as a hologram, one can realize that it inflects all other status variables. There is indeed a situation of religious super-diversity in current societies and religion itself contains diversity in terms of gender, age, network relations, cultural identities and so on. Analyses of such formations of religious diversity also need to consider how the secular is redefined. Is it a normative horizon to which one grasps when it comes to gender conflicts, morality, rights, ethics, or a technical context crystallized in formal institutional agreements? This panel explores how religious expressions are linked to ethnicity, gender, age and sexuality and how these linkages play out in and affect secular contexts. We invite papers dealing with religious super-diversity on the one hand and particularly that question and reflect on the ways the secular comes in and its role in possible conflicts or convivialities. We particularly invite papers based on empirical research.

STS #3
Convener(s) Géraldine Mossière, Christophe Monnot
Title Conversion and socio-political commitment
Abstract
In recent literature, the act of converting to a new religion is mainly considered as an archetype of our societies’ rapid mutations that are imbued with individualization and increased mobility processes. However, few have examined the changes that occur in representations, ideals and social actions - most especially when it comes to everyday religious practices – following conversion. Even if it is a striking example, radicalization in conversion only represents a marginal form of it. Instead of focusing on those cases, our panel will address conversion as the product of a social context in which converts do feel and describe themselves as changing agents. This session shall focus on the conversion out of three specific convert-focused entries:
The social motivations and intentions
The path of life narratives and personal biography
The integration in a community (which can be idealistic).
If the session’s frame of analysis includes, without any restriction, the cases of conversions to Islam as well as radicalization processes, it, however, mainly aims at studying the contexts, ideals, forms of activism, social isolation as well as the narratives that revolve around the act of embracing a new religion. As a conclusion, this thematic session shall mobilize a critical stance as for the political and social meanings that are endowed with conversion phenomena, in all their complexity and variability.

STS #4
Convener(s) Pascal Tanner
Title Diversity within Non-Religion
Abstract
As recent debates and studies have shown, the phenomenon of religious nones is remarkably diverse. Forms of unbelief, reasons for secularity, and ways of practicing non-religion depend on a multitude of variables and regional, national, and transnational contexts. In this session, we will ask:
What are the attributes of religious nones in different contexts?
What are the processes to be observed concerning religious nones in different contexts?
How can differences between different types of religious nones be explained?
What are the differences between non-organized and organized religious nones?
How can differences between non-organized and organized religious nones be explained?
How does cultural, generational and spatial diversity interfere with religious indifference or with non-religious activism?
Participants are invited to present results and work in progress from both quantitative and qualitative studies as well as from mixed method approaches.

STS #5
Convener(s) Jens Koehrsen, Alexandre Grandjean
Title Turning «green»: When religious actors get involved in sustainability agendas
Abstract
With the Cop21 summit in Paris and the Laudato Si encyclical, the engagement of religious actors in sustainability and their struggle against global warming have received much media and scholarly attention.
In the context of emerging socio-political agendas on sustainability (e.g. energy transitions) and a growing concern about climate change and environmental degradation, world religions and spiritual movements are increasingly turning « green ». The « greening » of religious actors may, for instance, become manifest in their public communications and lobbying efforts for a « greener » future, as well as sustainability projects or project partnerships with other actors. This panel wishes to explore the numerous situations of cooperation and frictions that arise out of those engagements. As such, it invites communications about the sustainability initiatives and collaborations of religious actors from various faith-backgrounds.

STS #6
Convener(s) Roberto Cipriani
Title Homosexuality and religion
Abstract
Homosexual behaviour and same-sex desire are universal phenomena. There are religious rejections of homosexual behaviours and lifestyles and reactions to the universality of the behaviour. Arguments against homosexuality in religions are often rooted in holy scriptures. But religious arguments are also contextualized in other social norms which are compatible with religion. Religions across the world first link to the family as the unit of reproduction. Secondly, a more Western argument has portrayed homosexuality as “against nature”. Although the status of the concepts of nature and naturalness remain fuzzy, the idea that homosexual behaviour is against nature has been one of the most successful narratives across centuries by linking naturalness and God’s will. Norms of naturalness explain the rejection of same-sex desires.

STS #7
Convener(s) Sarah-Jane Page, Anna Halafoff
Title Global Flows of Contemporary Buddhism
Abstract
The contemporary development of Buddhism globally has been noteworthy: in many places, Buddhism is proliferating, with new dynamics of Buddhism being forged. This stream intends to map the implications for the sociology of religion, where Buddhism, and its contemporary manifestation has been underexplored. Given that Buddhism is dominantly constructed in particular ways (e.g. as peaceful and benign – see Halafoff, 2012; Keown, 2012), this raises important questions regarding investigative hierarchies and why Buddhism has been largely excluded from sociological agendas.
As flows of Buddhism enter new spaces and places, Buddhism itself is transformed, and also has the potential to change the social landscape. As Buddhism grows, and sociology starts to take Buddhist adherents more seriously, we need to consider the sociological implications. On the one hand, we need to assess the everyday experiences of Buddhists, especially how these developments intersect with long-standing sociological divisions, such as class, gender and race. For example, in relation to gender, to what extent are gender inequalities apparent, both for lay Buddhists and those ordained? On the other hand, we also need to consider the impact for social theory and methodologies, and whether studying Buddhism affirms or challenges our existing theoretical and methodological frameworks.
We welcome papers considering any sociological facet of contemporary Buddhism. Topics could include (but are not limited to) the following areas: Social theory and Buddhism; terminology and concepts; dominant constructions of Buddhism; methodological implications; social class; race; gender; sexuality; youth; socially engaged Buddhism/activism; heritage/buildings; digital Buddhism/Buddhism online; religious leadership and authority; East/West navigation and transformation; and consumerism and Buddhism.

STS #8
Convener(s) Stéphanie Tremblay, Marie-Andrée Roy
Title Religious Diversity: Between the Majority Perceptions and Strategies of Religious Groups
Abstract
This thematic session proposes to examine the manner in which, on the one hand, the majority of the sociological perceptions are constructed with regard to the pervading religious diversity and, on the other hand, the reciprocal positioning of the different religious groups at present. This examination draws from diverse points of reference, and depends upon a plurality of analytical perspectives.
In the first segment we will explore, therefore, how, in a global context marked by numerous international tensions related to the religious, the "religiously acceptable" structure themselves in diverse pluralistic societies, focusing on political and legal/juridical discourses and the current conceptions of secularity/secularism, but also on individual discourses. This part will involve, then, analyzing social representations of the other and the beliefs related to its diversity in the public sphere. The following questions could possibly be raised and examined: Are there certain global representations of acceptable or non-acceptable forms of the religious in the public sphere? Is there a stigmatizing of certain religious groups in particular or of a particular mentality, that is fundamentalism? Do these representations vary significantly according to the various socio-economic milieu? Are they coherent or incoherent with the institutional discourses, both political and legal/juridical? Can a differentiated treatment be observed according to the sexes?
In the second segment we will explore how religious groups position themselves vis-à-vis majority perceptions. Does the devalued image of certain groups favor the emergence of what one might call "zones of fragility" (Dejean, 2016) in identity finding correlation with the radicalization of certain individuals or small groups? Does this image affect women and men in the same way? Does there appear to be a significant stake present in the establishing of "protective" religious associations, such as confessional schools? At the same time, many authors are demonstrating the role played by religious groups in building of a level of "conviviality," of solidarity, and a commitment to receive groups, the victims of violence, whether real or symbolic, who come from diverse religious confessions (Meintel, 2016). Do we find examples of similar strategies in other societies?

STS #9
Convener(s) Kati Tervo-Niemelä
Title Religion and non-religion across generations
Abstract
Numerous studies indicate that younger generations are less religious than older age cohorts when measured in traditional terms. These differences between younger and older generations are not only a matter of age, but there are also clear periodic differences: contemporary young people are less religious today than young people were earlier. This is the case especially in highly industrialized countries, and especially in Europe. A the same time the young generation seems to be more open in their quest for meaning in life. One of the key reasons for the decline in traditional forms of religion has been seen in the changes in family settings and changes in how religion in passed down across generations. At the same time, studies have shown remakable continuity across generations and religious behavious appears to carry over generations and parent's religiosity or non-religiosity has significant effects on children's religiosity.
This session invites papers analyzing and reflecting generational changes in religion and non-religion, how religious beliefs ans practices are maintained and transmitted - or not - across generations, and studies on religion and religious change among different age groups

STS #10
Convener(s) Roberto M.C. Motta, Claude Ravelet, Léa Freitas Perez
Title Religious and Cultural Syncretism, Interpenetration, Fundamentalism, Intolerance, and Conflict in Brazil, France and Elsewhere: Comparative Views
Abstract
Distinguished Interpreters of the relationship between religion and society, like Roger Bastide and others, viewed countries like Brazil as the prototype of a brave new world. This would largely be due to the interpenetration of the ethnic, cultural and, indeed, religious strains that entered into the composition of such countries. In France, too, a main line of thought looked with an optimism verging into enthusiasm, at the assimilating capacity of the French civilization. Yet, in both Brazil and France like in several other countries, anti-syncretistic and fundamentalist currents seem to have become only stronger in the first two decades of the 21st century. This has led to a situation that was certainly unexpected by authors such as Franz Boas and Roger Bastide, writing by the middle of the 20th century, on the interpenetration of civilizations in the Muslim word and in Brazil. Taking also into account valuable earlier contributions, this session aims both at a description of concrete issues and at an essay or essays of theoretical explanation of such trends. The question looms large whether religions will ever be entirely able to renounce their claims to exclusiveness and, hence, to fundamentalism and intolerance, even if then latter does not take an overtly violent shape. This query, in spite of many statements of acts of good will by religious leaders, concerns, first and foremost, monotheistic and “revealed” forms of religion, in which the door of syncretism tends to be absent, or very narrow.

STS #11
Convener(s) Sylvie Poirier, Françoise Dussart
Title Indigenous Contemporary Religiosities. Between Solidarity, Contestation, Convergence and Renewal
Abstract
While scholars have often stressed the so-called Indigenous attachment to their “traditions”, Indigenous peoples’ religiosities and their cosmological and ritual expressions have nevertheless been characterized by a fair degree of openness, flexibility and creativity, and thus anchored in dynamic modes of trans-actions and trans-formations. Furthermore, an ontology of relatedness/relationality seems to be guiding their cosmological (re)configurations and ritual practices; relations with the Others, human and non-human, with the land and their ancestors, and with various forms of sacred power and knowledge. It is by reproducing such relationality that Indigenous peoples struggle to maintain their sense of being “at home in the world”. Within the contemporary globalizing economic and political context, their traditional forms of religious solidarities and exchanges are changing evermore rapidly. A good case in point of these previous observations are the ways by which Indigenous peoples, throughout the world, have indigenized various forms of charismatic Christianity. Religious and spiritual pluralism have become an intrinsic dimension of Indigenous lifeworlds. Within the overall social fabric of any given Indigenous group, such pluralism may give way to different situations defined by peaceful coexistence, entangled responsibilities, and also tensions and contestations. The participants to the session will address these issues by drawing on timely ethnographic experience and work among Indigenous peoples in the Americas, Australia and elsewhere.

STS #12
Convener(s) Audrey Lim
Title Religion's use of social media in society
Abstract
Society is changing the manner in which it communicates. The internet has catapulted society to a new way of life with the emergence of social media. In the 21st century, people are creating online communities to share their thoughts and lives. Globally, four out of five people who have access to the internet use social media, and the most popular type of social media is facebook. Facebook has more than half a billion users. One out of every twelve people uses facebook. Hence religious groups need to be up to date on where society is headed and adapt to this change in its culture. An understanding of the use of social media is necessary. Social media has the potential to be used as a great communication tool to build relationship with people. Religious groups can serve the current interest of society by effectively using social media in two ways. Firstly, religious groups can use social media, particularly facebook, to encourage people. In encouraging people using social media, religious groups enhance connection with society and strengthen friendship and social bond. Secondly, religious groups can use social media, particularly facebook, to meet needs. In meeting needs using social media, religious groups unite society around specific needs and empower people for practical acts of service.

STS #13
Convener(s) Yaghoob Foroutan
Title Muslims in the West: Patterns and Differentials
Abstract
This panel provides an avenue to consider the dimensions, determinants and differentials associated with the status of Muslims in the western contexts. This is an important issue due to the fact that this particular group are the adherents of the world’s fastest growing religion, i.e. Islam. This panel focuses on the status of Muslims in the western contexts in terms of socio-economic and demographic characteristics including gender dynamics and women’s status, childbearing and fertility patterns, labour force participation and employment status, integration and discrimination hypotheses, second generation, migration and ethnicity, and religiosity.
This panel addresses such key questions as, but limited to, whether and to what extent is the status of Muslims in the western contexts associated with their religious identity? In particular, do Muslims differ from other religious groups in terms of socio-economic and demographic characteristics? Are such experiences different within Muslims by ethnicity and compositional characteristics? Whether and how significantly are such experiences influenced by the religiosity of Muslims? This panel welcomes both quantitative and qualitative papers which address each of the issues outlined above from cultural, economic, demographic and sociological perspectives.

STS #14
Convener(s) Mina Shojaee, Yaghoob Foroutan
Title Gender and Religion: Correlates and Causes
Abstract
This panel focuses on the place of religion in gender dynamics and women’s status. The term ‘religion’ here refers to all religions around the world (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, etc.), focusing either on a specific religion or on varying religions in order to highlight their consequences on women’s status from a comparative perspective. In particular, this panel explains the association between religion and gender in terms of a wide range of issues such as family formation patterns including marriage, childbearing and fertility, separation and divorce, new and emerging forms of family formation (like cohabitation etc.), religiosity, labour force participation and employment status, migration, intergenerational gaps related to the impact of religion on gender and women’s status, and so on.
This panel addresses such key questions as, but limited to, how gender and religion are correlated? Whether and how women’s status is associated with their religion? What does happen to the association between religion and gender upon migration? Whether and how significantly do intergenerational variations exist in terms of the effect of religion on women’s status? Does the effect of a specific religion on women’s status vary in different settings? From a comparative perspective, what are the effects of varying religions (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, etc.) on gender dynamics and women’s status? Are there more important determinants than religion on women’s status? We welcome both quantitative and qualitative papers with focus on the association between religion and gender from cultural, economic, demographic and sociological perspectives.

STS #15
Convener(s) David Lehmann
Title Religion of the others : mimicry and ritual reworking
Abstract
The frontiers protecting established religious traditions are being eroded in numerous circumstances. The only traditions so far unaffected are those associated with Islam. The Catholic charismatic renewal borrows extensively and wholesale from Pentecostalism; Pentecostal churches borrow from Judaism; Messianic Jews invoke Jesus but continue to gather in what they call synagogues; Hindu traditions were rebranded and even institutionalised under the protection of the British Raj and have subsequently migrated successfully across the world to be co-opted into all sorts of lifestyle techniques.
There are explicit and hidden borrowings: when neo-Pentecostal preachers in Brazil and South Africa allude to dark demonic forces springing from the Yoruba pantheon or the fearful Zulu supernatural they do not say their name, but when they proclaim their Jewish roots they display replicas of the Ark of the Covenant or even build monumental Temples of Solomon. Catholic priests in Brazil introduce a Missa Africana invoking an officially recognized Theology of Inculturation. Messianic Jews discreetly drop a mention of the Messiah Yeshua into the 18 blessings which mark every single service.
The sacred is supposed to embody time-honoured rituals repeated day after day week after week, year after year, yet these instances show that 'time-honoured' may mean honoured by 'other' traditions, while even the notion of tradition or heritage needs to be questioned. It seems that 'roots' are very widely valued, but necessarily one's own roots.

STS #16 Abstract
Convener(s) Yoshihide Sakurai
Title Religious Engagement and Wellbeing in Asia and pacific region: seeking for conceptual articulation and research methodology
Abstract
Research on religion has so far been concerned about both the improvement of life and social environment through the social actions of religion, and the positive effects of religion on physical health, mental health, and social capital, which can be important resources for happiness. However, to consider whether the concepts and indexes of religion and well-being, which are largely based on Christian belief and church organization, raised concerns about their validity among Asian scholars. Asian religiosity does not have the theory of salvation, but have ancestral rites and shamanistic/spiritualistic manipulation of spirit in order to integrate individuals into communal entities, which sometimes suppresses socially vulnerable persons. Therefore, we could not reach to coherent conclusion that religious engagement and religious involvement generally empowered personal mental capital and social capital.
This session aims to articulate the concept of “religion” and “well-being” and then to explain the relationships between them, by reviewing recent studies from various perspectives of the sociology of religion in Asia and Pacific regions. Besides, by general social survey and case studies practiced in those regions, we will focus on deep and various dimensions of well-being and religiosity of people.
In this session, we expect to apply multicultural perspectives on religion and well-being and simultaneously develop comparative survey across different regions. Additionally, if we are to argue that religion can make people happy, it is necessary to fill the gaps between the findings of general surveys and case studies of particular religions. Needless to say, the collaboration to solve this task would not be completed by scholars from Asia-Pacific alone but also by those who could critically suggest ideas on the basis of conventional theory and methodology from the West.

STS #17
Convener(s) Gang-Hua Fan
Title Religiosity and Subjective Well-Being
Abstract
Subjective well-being (SWB), often measured by respondents’ degree of happiness or life satisfaction, is one major indicator of quality of life. The measures of SWB reflect emotional reactions and cognitive judgments of life as a whole. Both of these aspects could be associated with one’s religious involvement, for religions may enhance positive emotions and provide systematic world views for their followers. Empirical evidences conducted in the United States and Europe constantly suggest a positive relationship between religiosity and SWB. Compared to non-religious people, religious ones tend to be happier and more satisfied with their lives. The association between religiosity and SWB are often found mediated by health status. Religious people tend to experience less anxiety and depressed symptoms and maintain healthier life styles than non-religious people. The relation between SWB and different dimensions of religiosity are examined and compared. Compared to organizational affiliation and private practices, religious attendance displays a more significant and consistent association with SWB. Attending religious services once a week was associated with higher degree of happiness and fewer depressive and anxiety symptoms. Also, personal faith tends to help people to stay optimistic and hopeful in their life goals. Although lots of research efforts have been devoted to the link between religiosity and SWB in the last two decades, research on this topic area still faces two limitations. First, most existing investigations on the relation between religiosity and SWB were conducted in the societies dominated by Judeo-Christian traditions. Relatively few studies have been done in societies where Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or other religions are the major religions. Hence, whether the relationship between religiosity and SWB in these areas exhibit the same pattern as that in Western societies remain unclear. Second, despite the rich accumulation of empirical studies on this topic area, theoretical models are needed to integrate and explain these findings. Questions need to be addressed including (but not limited to): what are the psychosocial mechanisms between religiosity and SWB? Are the mechanism between religiosity and SWB the same for people in different social positions or life stages? Which dimension of religiosity are more influential to SWB and why? Based on the above reasons, this session dedicates to studies investigating the association between religiosity and SWB. To enrich our understanding on this topic area, this session welcomes studies addressing all sorts of religions and societies, with all research paradigms (i.e., qualitative as well as quantitative; empirical as well as theoretical), and with different measures of SWB (e.g., happiness, life satisfaction, or self-rated health).

STS #18
Convener(s) Wei-hsian Chi, Yoshihide Sakurai
Title Media and Religion in East Asia
Abstract
Modern media is making progress in technology since 1970s. It has developed from its early broadcasting-audience mode in terms of radio and television to the interactive mode of Facebook, Twitter and Line-App. New media changes the way of our communication in many fields, including the religious field. In East Asia there has been the asymmetric power balance between the mass media and religion until late 1990s. New media, such as websites in Internet and social networking service tool, has, however, empowered citizens and civic organizations to express their political, religious, and individual ideas on any topic. This new development makes media not just a tool for mediating religious information and doing missionary work. The appearance of new media does create many new dimensions of religious communication and is transforming old religious forms. We are now in the era of religious mediatization.
The religious mediatization has not been sufficiently studied from the comparative perspective in East Asia. In Japan, the Aleph, a successor group to the Aum, which is a cultic group that killed more than thirty citizens by sarin nerve and poisonous gas attack, has for example used SNS and expanded its membership regardless of the surveillance law and control by security police. In Taiwan, new media is creating new forms of religious grouping and enhancing the phenomenon of religious delocalization. All these media-related religious phenomena need to be examined in a cross-local scope.
This session would like to invite papers that focus on the impacts of media on religious development in East Asia.

STS #19
Convener(s) Julia Martínez-Ariño
Title Governing religious diversity and conflict in the city
Abstract
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.

STS #20
Convener(s) Cristina Rocha, Paul Freston, Kathleen Openshaw
Title Global Pentecostal Charismatic Christianities
Abstract
Since the mid-twentieth century, there has been a massive global growth in Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianities (PCC). Scholars have noted how this growth has been prominent in the Global South (throughout Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia), but is also significant in the Global North (particularly the USA, Canada and Australia). PCC are highly portable, given the focus on strong personal experiences of salvation, glossolalia, divine healing, exorcism, and prophesy which can be easily adapted to local settings. This rapid expansion is also deeply connected to the development of Information communication technologies (ICTs). More recently PCC have been carried by migrants from the Global South to the Global North. PCC can offer migrants a ready-made support community, and a theological worldview that gives meaning to their hardship, reframing their physical journey in spiritual terms. We invite contributions towards a discussion of the complex social exchanges that accompany the global growth of PCC. We hope to address some of these questions: How do global PCC negotiate their presence in local landscapes? What is the role of ICTs in this expansion? How does this expansion blur the borders between the religious and the secular, and the private and the public? How do the, often conservative, preachings of many PCC dialogue with a secular mainstream? What role do PCC have in the everyday lives of migrants? How do PCC engage with the realms of politics, education, media, economics and social welfare? How are transnational PCC positive agents in conflict resolutions of all kinds?

STS #21
Convener(s) Norihito Takahashi, Tatsuya Shirahase
Title The Multicultural Engagement of Religious Organisations in the East Asian Context
Abstract
In East Asian history, Confucianism and Buddhism have been the major religious traditions and Chinese characters have been the important, common writing culture for a long time. In this sense, East Asians have shared many similarities with regard to their religions, lifestyles, and values. However, since the modern period, the relationships between each of these areas have become more complicated, and serious conflicts have often occurred. Consequently, East Asian peoples have tended to pay attention not to their similarities but to their differences in recent years.
Many East Asian countries are those that formerly sent many emigrants to other countries. However, some places, for instance Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and so on, are now accepting immigrants. They attract unskilled migrant workers from elsewhere in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia in order to supply their labour shortages stemming from aging populations, lower birth rates, and the aversion of young people to blue-collar work. Although the increase of immigrants has diversified the religious cultures of their respective societies, the social influence of the major established religious groups on the immigrant populations remains small. For example, established Buddhist groups have maintained relatively strong authority in Japanese mainstream society but have not actively approached immigrants to Japan.
On the other hand, some religious groups with ethnic minority members have been able to meet both their spiritual demands and their material needs (human rights, employment, and maintenance of their ethnic language and culture, etc.). In spite of these similarities across East Asian countries, we have not adequately considered the commonalities and relationships here. In this thematic session, we would like to discuss the current conditions in the East Asian context and the potential for the more active engagement of religious groups to realize multiculturalism in each society. Additionally, we hope to adopt different perspectives from those of Western societies, which have historically been the receivers of mass immigration.

STS #22
Convener(s) Elisabeth Arweck
Title Young People's Attitudes to Religious Diversity
Abstract
This session will discuss Young People's Attitudes to Religious Diversity, edited by Elisabeth Arweck, published in 2017 by Ashgate/Routledge. This book closes a gap in knowledge about young people’s attitudes to religious diversity in reporting data gathered across the whole of the UK. It includes comparative chapters on Canada, the US and continental Europe. The contributors present findings from both qualitative and quantitative research gathered during a three-year project funded by the ESRC/AHRC Religion and Society Programme, which reveal, for example, the importance of the particular social and geographical context within which young people are embedded. They also address young people’s attitudes towards the range of ’world religions’ as well as non-religious stances and offer an interdisciplinary approach through their respective analytical perspectives. A set of international critics will comment on the contents of the book in the presence of the editor and some contributors.

STS #23
Convener(s) Philip Hughes
Title Pentecostalism, cooperation and conflict in diverse societies
Abstract
While many forms of religion have declined in adherence and significance in Australia, as in many other parts of the Western world, over the past 50 years, Pentecostalism has developed at an astounding rate. In Australia, it has grown from a tiny sect in the 1960s to the second largest religious group in Australia in terms of frequently public practice.
However, the debate continues within and outside Pentecostalism as to its place in contemporary society. Is Pentecostalism a sect offering refuge for those who want to retreat from the pluralism and liberalism of contemporary Western society or is it the most recent manifestation of that section of the church which emphasises ecstatic experiences and ‘signs of the Spirit’? To what extent has it grown because it offers certainty in a world where moral values and the sense of what life is about are uncertain, and, if so, does it contribute to a lack of harmony in a diverse world? While its eschatology was important in its formation, to what extent is it continuing to generate hope for a better life beyond death? Or is it primarily a motivational group helping people to succeed by ‘claiming victory’ within this life? Or is Pentecostalism developing ways in which it can ‘lobby’ governments and corporations to respect its particular moral and religious values?
This session will explore the place and functioning of Pentecostalism in contemporary Western society and the ways in which it contributes both to conflict and harmony in a diverse world.

STS #24
Convener(s) Tadaatsu Tajima, Yu-shuang Yao
Title New Religious Movements and Established Religions vs. Globalisation/Glocalisation in the Asia Context
Abstract
Established Religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism and Islamism have already introduced to the Asian countries before Modernisation started. This modernisation also provoked to New Religious Movements. Hereafter, both Established Religion and NRMs have been globalised since late 20th century. NRNs born in Asia are now spread to the rest of the world; in return, NRMs born there have been brought into Asian countries. This globalisation sometimes causes the changes of NRMs as well as Established Religions in a certain area. In this session, we would like to discuss how NRMs and Established Religions at home and abroad faces to Globalisation and Glocalisation in the Asian context.

STS #25
Convener(s) Magdalena Nordin, Lene Kühle
Title Religion in public institutions
Abstract
Religion in public institutions are important sites for exploring cooperation and conflict in diverse societies. Former research in this area has to a high degree focused on conflict and governance of religion by public institutions, but we argue that there is also a need also to learn from situations of cooperation where conflict is not part of the process and where public institutions are governed by the religious institutions or by religious individuals. The processes of negotiation, contestation, accommodation and cooperation between religion and public institutions not only show how contemporary societies react to religious plurality, but also contribute to understand how national states transform the idea of secularity. This panel aims to bring together researchers studying the relation between religion and in public institutions such as - but not restricted to - hospitals, prisons or schools on a state, group and individual level.

STS #26
Convener(s) Nonka Bogomilova Todorova
Title “God’s Chosen Nation”: A Mythological Construct and Conflict-generating Potential
Abstract
Religion becomes a vital element of the ideology of a nation, or community, only when it becomes directly tied and subordinated to the cultural, political, etc., reproduction of the respective community, and when it is absorbed into the mythology of a group. One of its essential functions in the process of its instrumentalization is to provide the basis for the ontological status of the group, for the group’s right to autonomous existence on the one hand, and, on the other hand, for the group’s superiority, its authority over and above other communities of its kind. In such situations religion is reduced to a vivid emblem that signifies the particular community as opposed to ethnic, linguistic, psychological otherness, at the expense of faith and its corresponding moral behavior. Thus religious universality is subordinated to the values of a particular group, instead of transcending and enhancing them. The mechanisms of instrumentalization are as follows: 1) The group’s mythology eliminates the universalist, general human appeal of religion and ties that appeal above all to its own origin and heroic past; 2) The emphasis is shifted from religion’s moral and spiritual value for the individual to its group-symbolic functions; 3) An activist mobilization and transformation of religious doctrine takes place.
In fact, viewed from a perspective internal to religion, such an action cannot be considered religiously motivated at all; the chosen historical illustrations demonstrate this.

STS #27
Convener(s) Mia Lövheim
Title Media and Religious Diversity; conflict and cooperation
Abstract
The role of the media in shaping conflicts around religious diversity is often referenced in current sociological research on religion. Yet, there is a lack of more distinct analytical perspectives and empirical work is needed in order to understand this complex interplay in various religious and national contexts. This session welcomes papers on the topic of how religious diversity intersect with other factors in its influence on cooperation or conflict by focusing on how media, in various forms, represent religious diversity and shapes the conditions under which actors from minority and majority religious groups find ways of using media to articulate their beliefs. The session welcome papers that engage with and seek to develop theories of the mediatization or religion and conflict, and empirical case studies of the mediation of religious diversity, conflicts around religion and religious cooperation in various religious and national contexts.

STS #28
Convener(s) Elisabeth Arweck
Title Religious Socialisation and Education: Ways to Promote Co-operation and Reduce Conflict in Diverse Societies?
Abstract
While the media tend to highlight the devisive aspects of religions and their potential for conflict, one of the aims of religious education has been to help young people understand the positions of those who hold beliefs (religious or not) other than their own and thus to shape their attitudes towards people from different backgrounds. Similarly, religious socialisation aims to introduce young people to the beliefs and traditions of the faith community within which they grow up. Thus religious education and socialisation are one perspective from which to examine the contributions of religions to foster cooperation and reduce conflict in societies which are characterised by religious diversity. This session will seek to take this perspective. Submissions are invited on this topic.

STS #29
Convener(s) Zoran Matevski
Title Faith Communities and Religious Groups and the Principle of Religious Tolerance within South-Eastern Europe
Abstract
Taking into consideration the multi ethnic, multi confessional and multi cultural character of Southeastern Europe, religious tolerance is one of the fundamental principles in it. This fact emphasizes the importance of faith communities and religious groups, in Southeastern Europe, in proclaiming and practicing religious tolerance. Keeping that in mind, this session will try to answer the following questions:
What is the attitude of the faith communities and religious groups in Southeastern Europe towards the principle of religious tolerance?
What are the common elements and what are the differences between their ways of practicing of religious tolerance?
Does this principle fulfil the function of regulator of multi ethnic and multi religious relations within the modern Southeastern European societies?
Does the idea of religious and ethnic tolerance arise from the religious values that are proclaimed by Christianity and Islam?
What is the role of faith communities and religious groups in the post conflict period, which these countries are currently going through?
Do faith communities and religious groups relax or escalate multi ethnic relations in the regions of South-Eastern Europe?
What are the main characteristics of religious tolerance within the South-Eastern European countries?
What are the attitudes of the representatives of the political elite towards the issue of religious tolerance, as significant bearers of a certain type of social power within Southeastern European societies?

STS #30
Convener(s) Elena Lisovskaya
Title Towards a sociology of the icon and iconography
Abstract
This is the second ISSR meeting the newly emerging area of the social scientific study of the icon and iconography is proposed. Socio-scientific research on the icons and iconography’s role in society and culture is rare. The icon, as an image of the divine and the sacred, has been important in Christian and especially in Eastern Christian tradition. There, icons are ever-present in liturgy, church decor, and personal religious practices. However, the iconic representation of the sacred exists in other religious traditions, such as Buddhism, while it is a taboo in such traditions as Judaism or Islam. Icons have been the objects of social dispositions ranging from adoration to fierce persecution. They have been passed from generation to generation, and currently fill the walls of the most famous museums in the world. Yet, they also have been banned and destroyed. Icons have been involved in religious and political conflicts. Yet, they are also used for social integration, healing and peace-making. They have attracted and exhibited value to believers and non-believers, as demonstrated, for example, by the world-wide practices of iconography workshops and icon production industries. This panel will discuss the icons’ social and cultural meanings and functions as objects and agents in the context of social stability and change. We invite papers that discuss the place of the icons in Christian or other religious traditions and cultures and their social value and impact. We invite papers, which raise these and other relevant questions.

STS #31
Convener(s) Conrad Hackett
Title Religion and educational attainment around the world
Abstract
This winter, the Pew Research Center will release the first global study of religious attainment and religion, showing large differences in educational attainment between groups. The study will highlight how men and women within each religion vary in educational attainment as well as how patterns are changing across generations. The report will delve into explanations for the patterns observed, including the large disparities between Christians and Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa.

STS #32
Convener(s) Conrad Hackett
Title Opportunities and Challenges in Studying Asian Religions
Abstract
Quantitative studies of religion in Asia have often formulated survey questions in a manner that would be more appropriate for measuring Abrahamic religions than for measuring Buddhism, Hinduism and the many other religions native to Asia. This session will provide a forum for the latest research about the opportunities and challenges in studying Asian religions.

STS #33
Convener(s) Kees de Groot
Title Religion in Prison
Abstract
This session discusses work in progress on the relations between religion and prison in various European countries and beyond. After seminal work by authors such as James Beckford, several researchers are gathering and analyzing sociological and legal data on religion in European prisons. Their common interest is the position of religion in penitentiary institutions, including church-state relations, the organization of chaplaincy, the representation of religions among the prison population, and the freedom to express religion within prison walls. All researchers working on these issues are welcome to submit. Both legal and social aspects should be given attention. The case of the penitentiary system is dealt with as a gateway for reflecting on religion and public institutions. International comparisons are welcomed.

STS #34
Convener(s) Michele Dillon
Title Post-secular Catholicism
Abstract
Contemporary Catholicism is well suited to a post-secular conceptual analysis. Recently introduced by the renowned German theorist Jurgen Habermas, the post-secular looks to moderate religious traditions to help reorient a “contrite modernity” in dealing with the failures of modernity – as evidenced by economic inequality, social exclusion, and political indifference toward these problems. Habermas argues that a religious tradition’s norms, ethical intuitions and moral solidarities may be useful in reframing the problems at stake and give an emancipatory push to society’s embrace of policies and practices that would more purposefully serve social equality and the common good. Among other criteria, the post-secular calls for self-critical and mutually reflexive dialogue between religious and secular actors. This session will assess the extent to which, and the places in which, the Catholic Church might be considered a post-secular actor.

STS #35
Convener(s) Vyacheslav Karpov
Title Secularizations and Counter-secularizations: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives
Abstract
The interplay between secularizing and desecularizing trends and forces is, according to Peter Berger (1999), a most important focus of modern sociology of religion. Recent theory has recognized the necessity to expand the study of secularizing and desecularizing trends beyond Europe and North America. Furthermore, there is a growing understanding of the need to consider multiple secularizations (and counter-secularizations that emerge in reaction to them) rather than universal megatrends towards or away from secularity. Additionally, convincing arguments are made in favor of an agency-focused approach that views secularization and desecularization not as self-propelled by-products of modernity, but as the work of specific social actors and activists. Alongside the more customary evolutionary views of secularization, recent theory focuses on secularizing and counter-secularizing revolutions. These ideas call for a theoretical reconsideration of the customary frameworks in which secularization and desecularization are considered, as well as for a drastic expansion of comparative research on these issues. This thematic session invites papers that contribute to the aforesaid tasks of theoretical and comparative analysis of multiple secularizations and desecularizations in modern societies. Papers that derive theoretical insight from comparative research as well as purely theoretical papers are welcome. Comparative research is broadly understood to include historical, cross-national, cross-cultural and global perspectives, as well as single-case studies that are implicitly comparative by virtue of their theoretical framework. While papers focusing on all regions and religious traditions are welcome, submissions that consider developments outside of Western Europe and North America are especially encouraged.

STS #36
Convener(s) Giuseppe Giordan, Siniša Zrinščak
Title Religions and Human Rights
Abstract
The relationship between religion and human rights is controversial and debated. The aim of the thematic session is to explore the complex connections between religion and human rights, emphasizing that both the definition and the application of these two concepts are influenced by the different social and cultural contexts within which they are placed.
Starting from the geopolitical changes which have involved contemporary society on a global scale, the thematic session intends to critically evaluate the two main narratives on this topic: on the one hand religions understood as an element opposing the affirmation of human rights, and on the other religions considered as agencies facilitating the implementation of human rights. Religious rights, understood as individual and/or collective rights, are disputed as well. The question is how do religious traditions and new religious communities approach human rights issues? How do states manage religious traditions and religious diversification? How are human rights discourses and practices affected by the social context?
We seek research contributions which advance the theoretical and conceptual agenda in relation to the topic, and which may also contribute to new data and information about this topic. Methodological reflections are also welcome, since research on religions and human rights raises a range of interesting methodological and epistemological issues.

STS #37
Convener(s) Yoshihide Sakurai, Kikuko Hirahuji
Title Religious Research and Religious Education in Contemporary Asia-Pacific Regions
Abstract
Asia-Pacific is a “unique" region in terms of its high diversity and fusion of religious cultures and institutions when compared to European and North American societies. East Asian countries have in common diffused religious cultures of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism with their indigenous traditions of ancestor worship and shamanism. Their religious cultures have also been diversified by the introduction and mission of Islam and Christianity. Multi-ethnic states in Southeast Asia have Catholic, Theravada Buddhism, or Islam as their public religions. And in Pacific islands, Australia and New Zealand, migrants’ religions and aboriginal religions coexist under religious pluralism. Such religious diversity and hybridity is further enhanced by new religious movements and new age movement by globalization in recent decades.
However, scholars and students still learn, adopt, and rely on Western Christianity-based concepts, church-based religious organizational theory, and socio-religious change model to their religious culture. Many realize the difficulty to understand their own religious culture and institutions by using these Western concepts and theories. Even terminology such as diversity, mixture, diffused, hybridity and etc. seems insufficient to describe the religious scene in our past and present.
In this session we would like to invite scholars who have struggled with this theoretical task and let them discuss and exchange their researches in order to promote religious studies. Besides we will also invite papers that discuss advanced learning system of contemporary religions in any particular country as well as wider regions. Needless to say, the collaboration to solve this task would not be completed by scholars from Asia-Pacific alone but also by those who could critically suggest ideas on the basis of conventional theory and methodology from the West.

STS #38
Convener(s) Heiner Meulemann
Title Celebration of life course transitions: A cultural residuum of religion after secularization
Abstract
Representative surveys show a steady decline of religious beliefs in Christian dogma and practices, such as church attendance and prayer, in modern countries, notably in Western Europe and the USA. Commonly, these trends are summarized as secularization. However, celebrations of life course transitions or rites de passage – baptism, initiation, marriage, and funerals – designated as casualia in Catholic canonical law or services in Protestant theology are much affected by this decline. Why? This question shall be addressed. On reason for the relative persistence may be a need to frame life course transitions solemnly, yet not necessarily metaphysically which itself is rooted in some kind of cultural religiosity. The celebration of rites des passage may be a cultural residuum after secularization; what remains of religion itself becomes secular. Contributions which explore the motivations for these celebrations, their significance within secularization and their development are welcome.

STS #39
Convener(s) Roberto Cipriani
Title Diffused Religion. Beyond secularization
Abstract
Modern diffused religion is not very different from that of the past. Indeed it is precisely its persistence that gives it its peculiar characteristic which Claude Lévi-Strauss would have understood as a hard core not easily touched by time but subject, nevertheless, to variations that may not be easily perceived. If anything has changed, it has done so at a secondary level that regards details rather than substance. Diffused religion is the result of a vast process of religious socialization that continues to pervade cultural reality and not only that. The pervasive character of religion arises from the religion itself and is heavily imbued with religious connotations.
Religion of diffused values embraces central categories of religious behavior. In particular the area that can be ascribed to the religion of values runs from the category defined as religious (church) critical to that described as religious (distancing self from church) critical, and thus includes both a part of church religion and the whole gamut of diffused religion, along with all forms of critical religion. Thus the framework of non-institutional religion appears much broader, being based on shared values which are represented by choices in terms of guiding principles of life. It is reasonable to maintain that we are faced not only with a religion based on values largely shared, since they have been diffused chiefly through primary and, later, secondary socialization, but these very values can be seen in themselves as a kind of religion. This religion has lay, profane, secular threads.

STS #40
Convener(s) Torkel Brekke
Title Love thy neighbour? The roles of Christianity in shaping attitudes and policies to Muslim immigrants in Europe
Abstract
This thematic session addresses an important but understudied aspect of the diverse European reactions to the influx of refugees with Muslim background and, more generally, immigration from Muslim majority countries.
There seems to be increasing unease among politicians and researchers about the conflict potential of growing religious diversity in Europe. Christian symbols and narrative are often invoked in European politics, sometimes by xenophobic groups and individuals. Some far-right movements see the immigration of Muslims as a threat to Europe’s Christian civilization. Still, there is little research about the roles that Christianity plays in shaping and justifying attitudes and political positions towards growing religious diversity and towards minority groups in Europe today.
Some recent research about links between religiosity and attitudes to immigration the results point in many different directions and it is hard to make generalizations about possible links. Some studies have looked for links between Christian religiosity and voting for radical right parties in European countries, but no convincing links have been established. In some contexts, religiosity is associated with more positive attitudes to immigrants of a different religion. Studies from the Netherlands and Belgium from the 1990s analysed the relationship between church involvement, ethnocentrism and tendency to vote for the radical right-wing parties, like the Vlaams Blok. These studies found that regularly practicing Christians were less likely to have negative attitudes towards Muslim immigrants than marginal Christians.
This thematic session invites contributions with various methods that address the possible roles that Christianity has in shaping and justifying attitudes to Muslim refugees and immigrants and policies on immigration from Muslim majority countries.

STS #41
Convener(s) Victor Roudometof
Title The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Churches
Abstract
In 2016, the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Churches was held in Crete, Greece. It has been a long-awaited council and its organization has been eventful and contested. Contributions are invited on any and all aspects that relate to the event of the Council. These may include, among others, the following topics: the Council’s place in the history of the Orthodox Churches; its organizational infrastructure; the policy decisions made at the Council and their likely impact; the various disputes among Orthodox churches concerning the Council; its impact upon the Orthodox diaspora; its effect on the jurisdictional organization of the Orthodox Church in the 21st century; and its potential effect on interfaith relations & relations with the other branches of Christianity.

STS #42
Convener(s) Joëlle Allouche-Benayoun
Title Judaism, judaicities. Mutations and evolutions of the contemporary jewish world
Abstract
Western societies have long been on their way toward secularity, that is a “way out of religion” (Gauchet: 1985). Despite this ongoing process, religious claims and presence in all sorts of public debates have not vanished. What about judaism in this regard? What about the relationship of western states to their jewish citizens, when antisemitism is inexorably on the rise, supported on the one hand by far right movements, and on the other hand by muslim communities? How do those jewish populations manage to cope with this life threatening menace, while at the same time being true members of the societies they live in, and taking part in political and cultural debates, such as bioethic, euthanasy, abortion, gay mariage, etc. What about public action of jewish religious autorities in these ongoing debates? Moving forward from the previous sessions hosted by the ISSR, this one is an invitation for scholars from all fields : sociology, philosophy, history or anthropology to a reflexion on that topic.

STS #43
Convener(s) Suzana Ramos Coutinho
Title Migration, Religion and Identity
Abstract
We aim to discuss the different aspects of the religiosity of different migrant groups. The background of the current situation of these immigrants (and how different government are creating / changing / adapting new public politics in order to attend the basic needs of the newly arrived individuals) help us to discuss the transition and negotiation of the native religiosity to a particular model of religiosity, which accommodate different elements belonging to the new religious scene and that help to create a specific perception of immigrant imaginary and identity. Based on this reality, we also seek to bring light to think about new methods and strategies for data collection and analysis to provide a more accurate contribution to the understanding of different groups.

STS #44
Convener(s) Dorota Hall, Dinka Marinović Jerolimov
Title "Refugee crisis" in Central and Eastern Europe
Abstract
The aim of this session is to discuss societal issues related to what media call the "refugee crisis" in Europe. The focus of the session is on Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), a region that seems to hold certain common characteristics in the recent refugee context. Large parts of CEE have not so far had a profound experience with migrants and Muslim minorities. Also, refugees fleeing wars do not see CEE countries as their main destination. Nevertheless, refugees coming from the Middle East and Africa trigger vivid debates, pro- and anti-refugee social mobilization, but also apathy and withdrawal from civic participation. Reluctance toward refugees seems to dominate in CEE and, in the political realm, translates into the objection in the Visegrad Group (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary) to the relocation initially designed at the EU-level.
The present session seeks answers to a number of questions referring both to societal imagination and societal (in)activity toward refugees in CEE. To what extent is the dominant societal response enrooted in religious issues? What role does the image of refugees portrayed as Muslim believers play in this context? Are, and to what extent, both pro- and anti-refugee attitudes and mobilization driven by religion (religious institutions and religiously-motivated individuals)? How is religion involved in hate speech against refugees (both at the level of justifications and at the level of religious institutional actions)? And: how does religion stimulate the favorable and welcoming attitude toward refugees and various activities in their support? What role does religion play in influencing policy-makers' views and standpoints on issues related to refugees? We welcome papers addressing these and related questions.

STS #45
Convener(s) Juliette Galonnier
Title Muslims and Race in Europe
Abstract
This session invites papers examining the intersection of race and religion in the case of Muslims in Europe. The objective will be to discuss the relevance of framing European Muslims’ lived experiences in terms of race, racism and racialization. The “racialization of religion” is understood here as a process which assigns to faith traditions a number of phenotypical, somatic and moral characteristics construed as inborn and immutable. Despite their ethnic and cultural diversity, European Muslims are often lumped together into a homogeneous racial category (Arabs, South Asians, Turks, etc.). In turn, individuals belonging to these ethnic groups are frequently “religio-ized” as Muslim, irrespective of their actual religious beliefs. The stereotypical figure of the “Muslim” takes on ambivalent attributes since it conflates belief with national origin, ethnicity, culture, phenotype, skin color and negative moral values. It contributes to the essentialization and enduring stigmatization of European Muslims. The session encourages a renewed reflection on the concept of Islamophobia by bringing to the forefront an ethnic and racial studies perspective. Papers that track current instances of racial reasoning in relation to Muslims in Europe are welcome, as well as contributions that explore the historical genealogies of this racialization. Comparisons with anti-Semitism for instance, as well as other forms of otherization, are encouraged. The session also invites papers investigating how European Muslims navigate the ethno-racial stigma attached to their religion and the coping strategies they use to face Islamophobia.

STS #46
Convener(s) Vivarelli Clementine, Massignon Bérengère
Title Atheisms and religions in conflict ? Beliefs, paths, organisations
Abstract
Atheisms and religions in conflict ? Beliefs, paths, organisations. New Atheism, Sunday Assembly, Atheist Bus Campaigns. While new forms of atheism(s) display their visibility in public space, atheism and irreligion studies are emerging as a new field of research made of various methodological approaches. On the individual side, a halo of several forms is getting away from religious indifference to militant atheism passing by non-religious, agnostics, skeptics, materialists,… etc. In the same way, organizations that are claiming atheism multiply denominations : humanists, secularists, rationalists, free thinkers, without forgetting adogmatic Freemasonry. All these terms are particular genealogical historical, ideological and national markers that have to be contextualized. The starting point of these plural attitudes and of these several organizations seems to be the criticism of religions and of their public role, therefore a fundamentally dialogic and conflicting identity sometimes extends to a paradoxal mimetism from religions. It is the dialogical relation "religion/irreligion" as a common background of atheisms that is to question from two research focuses : (1) beliefs and individual paths to atheism ; (2) atheist organizations, their values, their action repertories and alliances. Field surveys from different national contexts will be favored, in particular comparative studies. The bilingual vocation of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion is an opportunity for French and English researchers to communicate on this emerging topic, mostly more developed in North America and in North Europe than in France, a difference that has to be questioned.

STS #47
Convener(s) Robert Dixon
Title Current Concerns in Parish and Congregational Research
Abstract
Presenters from several countries will investigate how some current concerns in congregational research are being researched. The papers to be presented will cover Catholic parishes and Protestant congregations, and will make use of attender-level and congregational-level data to consider issues related to the conference theme of Religion, Cooperation, and Conflict in Diverse Societies and well as a range of other issues. Papers will present results of research showing how fostering cooperation in diverse societies and acting as a resource for resolving social tensions can actually cause congregations to grow in vitality as well as have a beneficial impact on the wider society. Other papers will examine the causes and consequences of conflict in congregations. A discussion of differences and similarities across countries will be encouraged.

STS #48
Convener(s) Pål Ketil Botvar, Ann Kristin Gresaker
Title Religion and humor – negotiation and conflict
Abstract
The relationship between religion and humor has long been an issue of conflict, based on the perception that humor and religion are incompatible. Recent debates on the Muhammad cartoons have brought to the fore the clash between ideas of freedom, such as the freedom of speech, on the one hand, and the respect and consideration for religion, on the other hand. This controversy exposed the boundaries of joking about religion – what is considered funny or amusing to some people, others find offensive and insulting. Still, religion and humor are in continuous dialogue, negotiating ways to relate to each other in a tension-filled public sphere. This is for instance the case when humorists make jokes about their own religion and when religious communities arrange stand up shows on religion. The relationship between religion and humor illuminates collective ideas and values in society and culture, and display social group inclusion and exclusion. Humorous portrayals of religion have created reactions but also managed to put important questions on the public agenda. Comedians and cartoonists draw on topical issues and shape them according to humoristic forms, styles and repertoires. Humor is situational and relational. What makes people laugh varies between countries, groups and may change over time. We invite papers that address the different ways in which the relationship between humor and religion are expressed. This include, but is not limited to, the production of humor on religion/religious humor, media representations of humor and religion, responses and attitudes to humor and religion, and the social, cultural and political consequences of religion in humor.

STS #49
Convener(s) Irena Borowik, Katarzyna Zielinska
Title Religion in the public sphere: social discourses on biopolitics
Abstract
Issues related to bio-politics (e.g. abortion, assisted reproductive technologies, euthanasia, embryo research, cloning) stir fervent discussions in contemporary societies. They often divide people and groups over the question whether such practices should be forbidden or permitted, and if so under which circumstances and to what degree. Religious organizations and actors play an important role in these deliberations by formulating opinions which the believers should follow as well as by taking actions to influence or directly shape the polices regulating the field. On the other hand, opponents of religiously influenced views compete in the public space presenting other sources, values and meanings to legitimate their own positions. With a few exceptions, this involvement seems to be still under-researched and undertheorized in the sociology of religion. Yet, it may add a new dimension to the broader question of the role of religion in the public sphere.
Our proposed session has an exploratory character – we are seeking contributions from scholars dealing with the interplay between religion and bio-politics in the broadest terms with the aim to discuss the contemporary state of art and research. The themes we suggest for discussion include the following:
Arguments and reasons of religious organizations and actors in formulating their positions on biopolitics and their use in fields other than religious ones;
The power of religion in the field of biopolitics, influence of religion(s) on shaping public discourse;
Clashes or cooperation between biopolitical agendas of religious and secular powers in contemporary societies.
Discourses on religion and biopolitics
The role of religion in shaping discourses on biopolitics in religious and secular mass media on biopolitics
Methodological questions and problems in research on the role of religion in discourses on biopolitical themes.
Theoretical concepts linking the fields of religion and biopolitics.

STS #50
Convener(s) Frank Usarski, Edin Sued Abumanssur
Title Cooperation and conflicts among Latin American Religions
Abstract
The end of the monopoly of Catholicism and the growth of religious diversity in Latin America have created an ambiguous situation for churches, denominations and spiritual movements of the related countries. On the one hand, one can observe an intensified spirit of competition among religious communities. On the other hand, collective challenges of modernization, unresolved long-standing problems such as poverty and corruption as well as global issues related to ecology and peace have increased the awareness of the necessity of solidarity among social institutions. The panel offers a space for the description and analyses of empirical cases of religious conflicts and cooperation, respectively, including, for instance, a) events of intra-religious tensions, acts of religious intolerance, measures of persecution and stigmatization of the religious “other”, and b) manifestations of inter-religious dialogue and concerted actions of spiritually motivated NGOs.

STS #51
Convener(s) Yannick Fer, Véronique Altglas, Hicham Benaissa, Juliette Galonnier, Gwendoline Malogne-Fer
Title Agenda for a Critical Sociology of Religion: subjective experience and social determinants
Abstract
This session is rooted in the PSL Research University programme « Agenda for a critical sociology of religion » (2016-2019) which aims to engage with theoretical and methodological stakes of a return of the social within the sociology of religion. Sociology of religion is indeed prone to insist on the inherent religious feature of the objects it focuses upon, while being oblivious to their social dimension. By contrast, this session aims to explore the ways through which sociologists could bring back the social at the very heart of sociology of religion in order to contribute to a better sociological understanding of religious phenomena, in particular by engaging with social theory.
In particular we will look at the ways in which the sociology of religion can provide an understanding of the relations between religious individualism and the objective social conditions that determine these ‘personal’ choices. We will reflect upon the institutional and organisational dimension of religion, leaving aside the (sociological and religious) discourses that celebrate the emancipation of individuals from social constraints or claim the unavoidable decline of religious institutions. This session welcomes papers across sociology of religion, other fields of sociology, anthropology, history and political sciences.

STS #52
Convener(s) Antonius Liedhegener, Anastas Odermatt, Conrad Hackett
Title Contested Religious Belonging in Europe. Measuring Old Traditions and New Identities in Comparative Perspective
Abstract
The role of religion in European societies has become a prominent topic of public and academic debate. Questions concerning religion figure large when it comes to identities, politics and social integration. Historically religion in Europe is a highly territorial feature of social structure. Its standard form is an exclusive social membership role. Currently Europe’s religious landscape is changing rapidly. The number of religious bodies and communities is growing. Muslim minorities and persons without religious affiliation take a larger share within many countries. In addition, religious affiliation and religious belonging have gained a new prominence as categories of social identification. Consequently, the importance of statistics on religious affiliation has grown. Data on religious affiliation are regularly brought forward in debates about the strength, predominance and acceptance of various religious groups. Frequently, these numbers are doubted and disputed.
How different are countries and regions of Europe religiously? How religiously pluralized is Europe? And how and why do these differences and changes interplay with social conflicts concerning religious identities and state religious policies? Any scientific assessment must start with clarifying conceptual issues and giving data on religious affiliation.
This thematic session intends to explore these questions in interdisciplinary perspective. Thus, we invite researchers to send proposal on these topics. The papers could be based on large n comparisons across Europe or could deal with selected country cases or present case studies in a comparative manner. Conceptual and/or methodological contributions dealing with problems of measuring religious belonging and its societal impact are also welcome. A spatial or geographical approach is of interest as well. The session includes recent results and improved estimates of the religious composition of European countries originated by the “Swiss Metadatabase of Religious Affiliation in Europe (SMRE)” (www.smre-data.ch).

STS #53
Convener(s) Anna Halafoff, Gary Bouma, Elisabeth Arweck
Title Worldviews of Millennials: Education, Social Inclusion and Countering Violent Extremism
Abstract
As many societies are becoming increasingly religiously diverse and non-religious, school systems that previously largely ignored religion, or included only one dominant, religious perspective are gradually adapting to changing times. There has also been a significant rise in interest in educational programs about diverse religions and non-religious worldviews among state actors, faith communities, educators and scholars, in response to concerns of ‘homegrown terrorism’ following the July 2005 bombings, and more recently to radicalization of young people by ISIS. Moreover, many states, and faith-based organizations, have invested in these types of educational programs to promote respect for religious diversity and to counter violent extremism, yet there has been relatively little empirical evidence regarding the impact and effectiveness of these initiatives. Another critical factor worth examining is to what degree are these educational programs actually informed by the worldviews of millennials? This panel will examine:
The nexus between worldviews education and countering extremism; and
How young people’s worldviews may inform the development of educational responses to enhance social inclusion, particularly in religiously diverse societies.
It also encourages discussion of intersectional perspectives on diverse worldviews education and race, gender and sexuality.

STS #54
Convener(s) Louis Audet Gosselin
Title Media and Religious Radicalization: Gatekeeping and the Construction of Extremism
Abstract
In recent public debates in most Western countries, religious radicalization is often correlated with media exposure of violent extremism. Terrorist acts and sectarian practices attract immediate media attention, and social and mainstream media are frequently accused of facilitating radicalization processes among youths. This bilingual panel aims at questioning these assumptions by featuring research on media coverage of religious radicalization on the one hand. On the other hand, it seeks presentations on the use of media in the actual processes of radicalization, especially from youth. Our approach of the media is based on the theory of “gatekeeping” (Barzilai-Nahon 2008), which outlines the role of key media in the choices of coverage, giving them huge influence on public opinions. In the age of social media, this role has certainly changed, but we argue that gatekeepers still exert influence, albeit in a decentralized mode. Communications can thus explore the roles of both traditional and social media gatekeepers in fashioning public opinions around issues of religious radicalization. They can also examine whether radical groups produce their own gatekeepers in their use of media. Finally, they can seek to understand how diverse parts of media publics react to media discourses around religious radicalization, change their perceptions through media exposure, or build counter-narratives.

STS #55
Convener(s) Olaf Glöckner, Karine Michel
Title Conflicts, cooperation and completion among Jewish religious groups worldwide
Abstract
Contemporary Jewry is marked by the mutual experience of the Shoah and rising anti-Semitism in several parts of the world. At the same time, a remarkable diversity in religious and traditional identities has developed during recent decades and years (especially among liberal Judaism, conservative/Massorti, modern orthodox and ultra-orthodox) worldwide. This religious diversity has not the same consequences in Israel and in the Diaspora. Thus, while in Israel religious differences and antagonisms seem sometimes – and at some place - to provoke causes of conflict or even violence, new trends of religious diversity in the Diaspora seem be considered as welcomed completion.
In our panel, we would like to examine further these group religious forms in their weight and role in Jewish conflict and / or revitalization in the world. Propositions are expected on:
Conflictual situations: Religious conflicts and the causes for religious-secular quarrels in Israel.
Diversity as Chance of Re-Vitalization: We presume that diverse religious practices, movements, theological initiatives could also set enormous impacts for stabilizing ethno-cultural entities.
Israel-Diaspora-Relations: Assumed that the Jewish Diaspora and Israel are drifting apart, for specific religious reasons, and also for considering religious differences as problem or as chance, will the Jewish World, in the longer run, develop its own, independent, contrastive new centres?
Religion and Reconciliation : Europe is the Continent where the Shoah took place. Today it is also the place where a lot of initiatives have been started to re-consider Christian-Jewish relations and to figure out chances of re-conciliation between Christians and Jews.

STS #56
Convener(s) Andrea Rota, Rafael Walthert
Title Religious communities: Between public participation and internal tension
Abstract
Since José Casanova’s (1994) groundbreaking work, scholars of religion have devoted much effort to the study of religious expression in the public sphere. Research in this field has also been stimulated by an increasing visibility of religious minorities in Western societies. This evolution has prompted numerous reflection aimed at clarifying (and to some extent, promoting and advocating) the role of religions in the public sphere as well as the political, social, and normative conditions of their participation in democratic contexts. These debates are connected to the broader discussion on post-secular societies and alternative forms of secularism.
Against this backdrop, comparatively fewer studies have analyzed the empirical consequences of active participation in the public sphere for religious groups and their organizations. Therefore, this panel seeks to reverse the question regarding the contribution of religious communities to society and, instead, enquires about the internal processes that the adoption of a public position prompts within religious communities. Espousing a dynamic understanding of collective religious actors as complex social entities encompassing different needs, interests, and orientations, the panel aims to explore the tensions and the negotiation processes engendered by their evolving relations with the surrounding society. We ask: with respect to which issues and along which lines do tensions and negotiations unfold within religious communities? What are the consequences for community structures? Which strategies are deployed to reduce internal conflicts and avoid division?

STS #57
Convener(s) Effie Fokas, Alexia Mitsikostas
Title The European Court of Human Rights at the Grassroots Level: exploring the Court’s role in governing religion-related tensions on the ground
Abstract
This thematic session speaks to the question of how and under what conditions law can govern tensions in religiously diverse societies. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is an arena where some of the most challenging questions around European religious pluralism are deliberated, and its case law has centrally contributed to European efforts to govern tensions in religiously diverse societies. Drawing on research conducted under the auspices of the European Research Council-funded research project on the impact of the ECtHR religion-related case law at the grassroots level (Grassrootsmobilise), the papers in this panel explore how and the extent to which religious actors in four different country contexts pursue their rights to recognized legal status ‘in the shadow’ of ECtHR case law.
What is the aftermath of the Court’s religion jurisprudence, in terms of its applications at the local and national level? What rights consciousnesses might be developing amongst social actors as a result of ECtHR cases of religious freedoms, and to what potential effects? Do the Court’s judgements serve as a platform for mobilisations at the local and national level in favour of rights won at the ECtHR level? The papers in this panel explore these questions through a focus on the struggles of religious minorities in their pursuit of legal recognition in the contexts of Greece, Italy, Romania and Turkey.
Insight into developments at the grassroots level is necessarily based on a bottom-up, decentred approach to the Court’s influence, sensitive to the variable, dynamic and interactive effects of knowledge and discourses communicated through the Court’s decisions, on a broad range of social actors and in a broad range of settings. It is only in conversation with cause lawyers, NGO representatives, members of religious minority groups, etc., though empirical fieldwork-based research, that we can grasp some of the indirect effects of case law, which are amongst the least studied aspects of law and change. Collectively, the papers in this thematic session shed light on the extent to and ways in which the ECtHR case law actually contributes to the governance of religion-related tensions on the ground.

STS #58
Convener(s) Heinrich W. Schäfer, Jens Koehrsen, Cecilia A Delgado-Molina
Title Religion and Social Inequality: Empirical Insights and Theoretical Reflections
Abstract
The study of the relationship between religion and social inequality has marked sociology from its beginnings. In recent years, there has been a rising academic interest in the sociological study of social inequality and religion, spanning from research that employs predominantly quantitative methods and studies in what way religion contributes to social inequality or how social inequality produces distinctive patterns in religious affiliation, practice, and believes, to qualitative in-depth studies of how religion and social inequality are related on the micro-level of individuals. Among the existing qualitative studies, there is a focus on the religion of deprived social groups, whereas the study of religion among more affluent social sectors – e.g. middle and upper classes – has remained relatively understudied.
The session raises the question of how religion and social inequality relate to each other and overlap in different geographical, social class, and faith contexts. We invite contributions with research from a wide variety of geographical contexts and with different research methodologies, to discuss current empirical research on the relationship between religion and social inequality, seeking to provide theoretical reflections on this relationship.

STS #59
Convener(s) Rodrigo Toniol, Brenda Poveda Carranza, Mari Sol Garcia Somoza
Title Body, Politics and Religion. Theoretical approach, methodological articulations and ethnographic studies in Latin America
Abstract
Currently, this famous paper by Mauss invites us to think about the many intersections between body, religion and politics. In other words, we are trying to identify what are these intersections and how they work. This session wishes to understand how one's body can re-draw certain religious traditions while they are shaping, within that very same body, their domination, belief systems and moralities.
We invite researchers and young researchers who, through the scope of anthropology, sociology, history and related areas, study those questions, linked to theoretical frameworks and experiences on the field in Latin America.

STS #60
Convener(s) Ludovic Bertina, Anahita Grisoni, Jean Chamel, Mathieu Gervais, Luis Martinez Andrade
Title Ecology, religions and spiritualities: from socio-environmental conflicts to cosmopolitcs
Abstract
This session aims to discuss, from a socio-anthropology and a political philosophy of religion, the link between ecology and religion as they have already been addressed in Religion et écologie (Hervieu-Leger, 1993) and Nature et religions (Bertina, Carnac, Fauches et Gervais, 2013). It aims at analysing the relationship between ecology and religion, emphasizing the political dimension, and more specifically the conflictual one, of this encounter guided by divergent interests or representations.
The purpose of this session is therefore 1) to evaluate the consequences of "ethicisation" of environmental issues that occurs from the convergence of ecology and religion. It will then 2) identify the forms of actualisation of cosmologies and power relations behind the different compositions that are established between ecology and religion, forms that fit within a broader political spectrum, from the anarchist and libertarian extreme left to far right trends naturalizing regional identities. It is therefore around a reflection on the mechanisms of social change that will lead the entry offered by the meeting of ecology and religion.

STS #61
Convener(s) Leni Franken, Sivane Hirsch
Title Religion and education in contemporary plural societies: a matter of neutrality?
Abstract
In contemporary plural societies, religious education (RE) is a subject of ongoing debate. On one hand, RE is often considered to be related to the development of tolerance and a culture of ‘living together’ (e.g. OSCE 2007; Toledo 2008; Signposts 2014). On the other, the role faith-based schools can or cannot play in the integration of minorities, and their contribution to citizenship education in a liberal state, is often questioned (e.g. McMullen; McLaughlin; Brighouse). In both cases, public debates often focus on the issue of neutrality in education. Even its biggest supporters recognize that RE is difficult in this sense: can school be neutral when talking about religions? Can it be allowed not to be? This is even more difficult since RE (denominational and non-denominational) is considered to contribute to education against intolerance and conflict, and in some cases to participate in prevention of radicalization among students. The judgment rendered on 2015 by the Supreme Court of Canada, allowing a private Catholic school (Loyola), to offer an equivalent program to Quebec’s Ethics and Religious Culture program, that will teach all religions and ethics from a Catholic perspective, is emblematic in this respect.
In this thematic session, we will scrutinize these issues in a critical, interdisciplinary perspective. Hereto, we invite academics from different disciplines (e.g. religious studies; theology; philosophy; social and political sciences; history; pedagogy; anthropology) to participate in the discussion.

STS #62
Convener(s) Titus Hjelm, James V. Spickard
Title Social Theory and Religion
Abstract
The aim of this session is to stimulate debate about theoretical ideas that have a bearing on sociological research on religion. With reference to the conference theme, we invite papers that focus on—but are not limited to—discussing theorisations of Religion, Cooperation, and Conflict in Diverse Societies. Contributions are welcome from researchers applying both familiar and less familiar traditions of social theory to the study of religion.

STS #63
Convener(s) Inger Furseth
Title Religious Radicalism and Extremism
Abstract
The theme of this session is religious radicalism and extremism. While these topics are common in studies of terrorism, security studies and political science, few sociologists of religion have engaged in this research. Extremism research faces several challenges of developing useful concepts, conducting viable empirical research, dealing with political and security interest, and media attention. To which degree can the sociology of religion offer perspectives and approaches that are useful in these studies? Also, much research focuses on the participants and their motives for joining and staying engaged, while little attention is given to the various effects different gender, age, and social class composition of participants have for growth, continuity, and decline. Papers are invited that offer critical perspectives on concepts, theories, methods, and aspects of the participants that affect the future of religious radicalism and extremism.

STS #64
Convener(s) Thea D. Boldt, Hubert Knoblauch
Title Religion as Communication: Materiality, Mediatization and Objectivation
Abstract
In the last decades, the role of materiality, media and practices have been moved into the focus of attention by students of religion, yet their interplay in the process of communication has been long neglected. It is only in the recent years that the mediatization of religion by means of media, objectivations and communicative action has been studied in a way which reflects the interplay between these categories. Thus, the „mediatization“ approach in communication studies has contributed significant analyses of the contemporary transformation of religion, the role of objects, artifacts and architecture has been acknowledged in a way which does not ignore the role of language, signs and structures, and the rather idealistic approach to communication by systems theory and critical theory is being substituted by a more encompassing theoretical approach of the communicative construction of religion.
This session is addressing these kind of studies of religious communication on two levels. Given the theoretical deficit of religious studies, it calls, first, for contributions which focus on the ways how religion can be grasped as communication, communicative action, practices in terms of contemporary debates in social theory (ANT, Practice Theory, Communicative Constructivism etc.). Secondly, it calls for theoretically informed empirical analyses of and religion as communication with respect to religious rituals and events, religious spaces and architectures, media, objects and objectivations.

STS #65
Convener(s) Uta Karstein, Thomas Schmidt-Lux
Title Architecture as a Medium of Religious Conflicts
Abstract
The session aims to discuss the capacities of the sociology of architecture in studying religion, particularly religious conflicts and competitions between religion and other social spheres. The perspective is based on the assumption of architecture as an important social arena where several protagonists, interests and perspectives about religion and its concrete form and function come into play. Yet, during these conflicts architecture is not only a passive arena, but furthermore an important symbolic medium. Since architecture contributes to express and visualize religious thoughts and ideas and marks powerful spatial claims in the public sphere, it can be a significant means within the religious field. Furthermore, many conflicts between the religious and the secular sphere revolve around discussions on material and architectural topics.
Thus, the session highlights current conflicts and basic questions such as:
Public conflicts about building projects like Mosques, Churches or Temples (in the context of religious diversity)
Struggles within the religious community about the ‘adequate’ exterior and interior architecture
Struggles about competing ideas (essentials) of a religion and their architectural representation (Protestantism vs. Catholicism, liberal vs. orthodox Judaism, sunnite vs. schiite Islam etc.)
Concurrence between religious and secular buildings within the urban context
Building projects as an arena of professionals (architects, artists, politicians) and non-professionals (parishioniers)
We welcome theoretical as well as empirical contributions based on discourse analysis, interviews, ethnographic fieldwork but also interpretations of architecture itself etc.

STS #66
Convener(s) Carlo Nardella
Title Pope Francis and the Crisis
Abstract
Since the night of his election, when he delivered his first blessing to Rome and the world, Pope Francis has interacted with people in the crowd and the media by introducing elements of both continuity and discontinuity between him and his recent predecessors. The outcome is a message within everybody’s reach proposing to cope with a world ridden by conflicts and tensions that are in significant ways becoming more manifest by adopting an approach whose key features are the promotion of compassion and tolerance on one hand and the problematization of asymmetries, exclusions, separations and injustices on the other. The session welcomes papers aiming for a more accurate understanding of Pope Francis’ communicative politics in the present context. Contributions may concern (but are not limited to) the study of the ways in which both traditional and new media shape in different countries the Pope's communication style and content, the mechanisms through which this happens and its consequences.

STS #67
Convener(s) Sara Teinturier, Sarah Scholl, Sivane Hirsch
Title Schools and religions : methodological challenges
Abstract
In contemporary plural societies, the issue of religion and education is at the heart of societal controversies which have been placed on the political agenda : how to define what the public school should be, teaching about religion, specific queries in the name of religion in educational institutions ... This theme also poses major challenges to researchers, from the definition of the survey they drive, the conditions of possibility of its implementation, to its interpretation and dissemination. This session aims to focus on the specificity posed by the socially sensitive research (Sieber & Stanley, 1988; Condomines & Hennequin, 2013) that may represent the religious factor in its various dimensions, in an educational institution which itself has its own characteristics and is both a closed universe and the place of strong societal expectations. In such a case, which constraints does the researcher face ? What are its possible adaptation strategies? What to do with results which could eventually present a limited scope ? The identification of methodological challenges is a first phase of our reflection; this session aims to explore how specific is (or is not) a research about religion in school and beyond, within contemporary societies.

STS #68
Convener(s) Anne Lancien
Title “Laicity”: an answer to conflicts in diverse societies?
Abstract
As Emile Poulat explained, “laicity in not only a spirit of emancipation towards philosophy, but also a policy of pacification towards the law[1]”. According to these two approaches, laicity could be an answer to religious and cultural diversification of societies: as a philosophy of emancipation, it rejects any heteronomy and can be considered in that way as a common base to cooperation between religions, philosophies and civil society. As a legal principle, it regulates relationships between the State and religions, fostering living-together.
This panel aims at questioning those two axes, according to the following points: which new issues are at stake regarding to laicity and the increasing religious and cultural diversification of societies? How can laicity be a support to conflict resolution, between the State and religions, between the public authority and believers and between citizens themselves? At last, what are the limits of this principle in its ability to make society peaceful?
[1] Émile Poulat, Notre laïcité publique. « La France est une République laïque », Paris, Berg International Éditeurs, 2003, p. 14.

STS #69
Convener(s) Igor Bahovec
Title Thomas Luckmann, Religion and Society: 50 Years of The Invisible Religion
Abstract
2017 will mark 50 years since Thomas Luckmann's book The Invisible Religion – The Problem of Religion in Modern Society was published. In it Luckmann developed the thesis that it has come to a major change of social form of religion in Western society, to a shift from institutional forms of (Christian) religiosity to individualized, privatized and subjective religiosity. In other words, the institutional form of religion is only one form of religion – a person can be religious without institutional affiliation or can believe in such a way that only partially coincide with religious concepts of the church or religious community to which he belongs.
One year after Professor Luckmann's death, the purpose of the thematic session is to look at and rethink the Luckmann's approach to and contribution for the development of the sociology of religion and to examine how much Luckmann's interpretation is still suitable for description and understanding of the phenomena of religiosity and spirituality today. Many questions arise, including: has the "invisible religion" become "visible" after half a century? Does secularization (at the level of individuals) mean the disappearance of religion or change of religion?
Finally, it is also reasonable to establish the relationship between Luckmann's sociology of religion and other areas of his work – in particular, the moral communication in everyday life, the life-world, and intermediary institutions.
New Researchers Forum

NRF #1
Convener(s) Carolina Falcão
Title Thinking of religion, a multidisciplinary exercise
Abstract

This proposal aims to broaden the debate about the range of possibilities regarding the study of the religious phenomenon nowadays. For this, we understand the Sociology of Religion as a privileged field, but not the only one, from which we can ask questions that seem to point out to equally multidisciplinary answers and methodological choices. In this sense, we aim to promote the exchange of works that bring together the signs of this multiplicity and offer, therefore, a common ground for debates including projects whose approaches come from different fields such as History, Discourse, Cultural Studies, Communication , Arts, Literature and so forth. Our goal is that we can build a collaborative scenario where our differences (whether methodological, ontological or aesthetic), can build bridges of dialogue, of which we can extract much more than just the "religious object" per se in common. Each one of the participants of the Forum should, within a set time, present the main theoretical and methodological reference of the research and how this reference supports the religious object to be studied. With that in mind, we expect to see researchers addressing their own theoretical assumptions to a diverse audience that does not necessarily shares the same background (and the consequent implicit effort in this exercise). This interaction/effort may encourage partnership and contribution that could only arise on such a diverse scenario. To be part of the Forum, it´s necessary to submit an abstract of up to 500 words that promotes an overview of the research and its main theoretical and methodological references. Once approved, the full paper should be sent in order to be reported by another participant. Thus, during the Forum (which can last up to two sessions), each presentation will be followed by a critical report in which the reporter will make some critical questions and than open to debate with the public. It is important to note that participation in the Forum require this double activity: presenting its own work and reporting another one. Doctoral students and doctors whose thesis defense does not exceed one year are welcomed to participate.

 

Société Internationale de Sociologie des Religions

International Society for the Sociology of Religion