Religion, Social Inequalities, Differences, and Sociological Imagination — European Sociological Association, Prague, 25 – 28 August 2015

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Call for Papers: European Sociological Association, Prague, 25 – 28 August 2015
ESA 2015 – Call for Papers – 12th Conference of the European Sociological Association — Prague, Czech Republic, 25 – 28 August 2015
ESA – RN 34 Sociology of Religion

Religion, Social Inequalities, Differences, and Sociological Imagination

Coordinator: PD Dr. Heidemarie Winkel, Technical University of Dresden

After decades of critical discussion, the social significance of religion in Europe is an accepted and empirically grounded fact today. Whether it concerns political attitudes, economic orientation or other social fields of life like education, culture and the media or the private sphere, manifold empirical studies demonstrate the sustaining influence of religion on preferences, practices and identity formation. At large, it is undisputed that (structural) secularization does not diminish, but rather nourishes religious pluralization as well as the development of new spiritualities and popular forms of religion in Europe.

This development is – among other things – a consequence of global dynamics; they accelerate social, cultural and economic transformations, and more recently radical political changes. This raises questions about how religion is involved and affected by these changes in the neo-liberal era (whether on the local, the national or the supranational level) and how religion reacts to these all-encompassing transformations and turmoil.

A particular interest concerns religion’s social forms of organization and practice that respond to the increase of social inequalities and asymmetries; the latter are often trapped in power relations like in the case of neo-liberal economics and politics.

Another concern is how religion is acting on the various forms of social difference and discrimination that are recently unfolding with new life. For example Islamophobia is one of the new ways in which racism is expressed in contemporary Europe next to older forms of discrimination like anti-semitism, sexism and the growth of right-wing extremism. This finally leads to the question how religion itself has become a (constant) source of social friction and exclusion, whether on a macro or on a micro scale, for example regarding access to political, economic and civil rights. This is intertwined with an interest in the social practices of religious actors and the ways they strive to strengthen their agency in European societies under the conditions of growing inequality and social discrimination.

All these questions concern politically and morally contested issues. This additionally centers the focus of interest towards how religious groups, organizations and individuals are included in civic debates about social discrimination and inequality, i.e. poverty and inequality of income, unemployment, the cutback of the welfare system.

Authors are invited to submit their abstract either to the general session or any specific session. Please submit only to one session. After abstract evaluation, coordinators will have the chance to transfer papers between sessions where applicable.

Abstracts should not exceed 250 words. Each paper session will have the duration of 1.5 hours. Normally sessions will include 4 papers.

Abstracts must be submitted online to the submission platform, see below. Abstracts sent by email cannot be accepted. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed and selected for presentation by the Research Network; the letter of notification will be sent by the conference software system in
early April 2015.

Abstract submission deadline: 1st February 2015
Abstract submission platform:

If you have further questions on the conference, please visit the conference website. For
further information on the Research Network, please visit

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