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Session Overview
RN34_05a_P: Religion, Integration and Solidarity
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Irene Becci, Lausanne University
Location: PC.2.12
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 2.

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Iconic multi-religious buildings and the politics of collective memory in Europe

Mar Griera1, Marian Burchardt2, Avi Astor1

1Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB), Spain; 2Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

This paper investigates the histories, memories and projected futures of interreligious encounters attached to emblematic multi-religious buildings. Empirically, we focus on two such buildings: the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba and Berlin’s House of One. Although the two iconic structures vary significantly in a number of respects, they both symbolize plural religious heritages, and are presented as models for “political pedagogy” (Mukerji, 2012) that conjure particular visions of the past while also offering specific imaginaries for possible futures. Both structures have also been subject to controversy in recent years, as, a range of actors have questioned the framings, meanings and practices that underpin their celebrated status as symbols of interreligious dialogue and coexistence. This paper provides insight into how notions of religious diversity and multi-religious coexistence are materially represented, shaped and contested around controversies over multi-religious iconic buildings.


Fabio Introini, Giulia Mezzetti

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano, Italy

The phenomenon of jihadist radicalization has gained center-stage in public debates around the integration of Muslims in Europe, as it raises the issue of the motivations driving young people - who are overwhelmingly of immigrant descent - to adhere to Jihadism, questioning the process of migrant integration and the treatment of Muslim minorities in Europe. It appears that socio-economic integration can only partially explain the success of Jihadism; more profound fractures linked to Muslims’ “symbolic integration” (Césari, 2015), i.e. how they are accepted and perceived by European receiving societies, better account for the success of this form of violent extremism. The literature agrees that it is impossible to identify the “profile” of would-be jihadists; it also seems hard to define univocal “pathways” or “models” of radicalization (McCauley & Moskalenko, 2008). Based on Latour's Actor-Network approach (2005), we contend that an ecological perspective is well suited for grasping the appeal of the “jihadist endeavour”, whose “plausibility” emerges from the empirical analysis of a number of biographies and first-person accounts that we carried out. This allows us to disentangle apparently contrasting evidence: on one hand, identitarian cleavages occurring in European societies (e.g. in France or Germany), which result in the spread of Salafist countercultures (specularly reflected in the growth of fierce anti-Muslim sentiments); on the other, the inexistent or very low levels of religiosity frequently reported in the accounts of jihadists’ lives, which also include people with no Muslim or migrant background.

The impact of Interactive Groups on creating interreligious friendship ties and reducing prejudices

Roger Campdepadros3, Lena de Botton1, Ana Burgues2

1University of Barcelona, Spain; 2University of Barcelona, Spain; 3University of Girona, Spain

This communication presents some outputs of the research “Multicultural laicisim and the management of religious diversity within educational spaces” aimed to identify those conditions under which the educational community can develop interactions that would decrease prejudice and foster coexistence within a multicultural, multiethnic and multireligious context. Intolerance, aversion and rejection towards religiosity and some religious minorities as jews and muslims in Europe keep on the spotlight, as they increase in certain contexts as economic recesion, international geopolitics and the rising of populist politics. We are living several of these contexts, and the management of the diversity is clue to revert or to increase all of these exclusion forces. So we focus our analysis in the management of the diversity in two schools that implement Successful Educative Action as Interactive Groups, which provides the conditions in a multicultural context under which interactions can reduce prejudices and foster coexistence, so promoting the interreligious dialogue and reducing conflicts. The analysis revealed that conditions as egalitarian dialogue where solidarity, equality of differences and the arguments validity prevail allow the development of friendship ties among students, teachers, families and volunteers that are clue in reducing prejudices.

Religion and the Matter of Solidarity

Dick Houtman, Anneke Pons- de Wit

KU Leuven, Belgium

The Durkheimian tradition in sociology understands religion as a major source of solidarity, celebrating what people have in common to mark and re-affirm moral group boundaries. Nonetheless, processes of religious privatization and religious change have often been understood as resulting in individualized religious outlooks that are basically incapable of forging and sustaining moral ties. In this paper, we will challenge this assumption that individualization goes hand in hand with an erosion of solidarity.

Our argument is based on biographical interviews with 10 ecumenical and 10 conservative Protestants in the Netherlands. While ecumenicity proves indeed individualized and open to religious diversity, the interlocutors who identify with it do nonetheless embrace and appreciate solidarity. This solidarity differs from its conservative Protestant counterpart, however, because whereas the latter foregrounds a narrowly defined conservative in-group, the former embraces a wide range of religious and non-religious others. These differences can be traced back to the religious creeds of the two groups, not least their different understandings of the divine. Unlike conservative Protestants, those who identify with ecumenicity conceive of the divine as immanently situated in social relationships rather than as a transcendental personal God. In doing so, they reject the notion of a particularistic in-group of ‘true believers’, which gives rise to much further-reaching understandings of solidarity.

What our findings demonstrate, in short, is that religious individualization and privatization cannot simply be taken to entail an erosion of solidarity, but rather signify a transformation of solidarity, with extended in-group boundaries replacing narrowly defined particularistic ones.

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