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Call for Contributions: Research Project on Religious Communities in European Civil Society

Monday, March 7, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Call for Contributions:

Research Project on Religious Communities in European Civil Society


Religious Communities in European Civil Society is a large-scale exploratory research project aimed at assessing the position of religious communities as potential or active civil society actors in Europe, and at looking into differences in their positioning on legal, historical, cultural, and behavioural grounds. The project is undertaken by the Maecenata Institute, Berlin. 

The seemingly vitalizing impact of religion and religiosity on civil society is a research topic that has been extensively looked into, not only in the USA, but increasingly also in a European context. Faith based charities have also been objects of scholarly work in the context of civil society theory and empirical studies. What still seems to be missing is an evaluation of the role of institutionalized religious communities, and of circumstances that facilitate or impede their status as civil society organisations. One assumption is that in a European context, legal relations between the state and various religious communities (minorities and majorities alike) play a crucial role in shaping the religious communities’ scope for action within the arena of civil society. 

The project started in the fall of 2015 and will run for three years. Following a kick-off workshop in October, five associates have kindly agreed to collaborate with us on determining details of content. They are:

·                 Gianpaolo Barbetta (Catholic University of Milan, Italy),

·                 Paul Dekker (University of Tilburg, Netherlands),

·                 Anna Domaradzka (University of Warsaw, Poland),

·                 Johan von Essen (Ersta Sköndal University College, Sweden),

·                 Vassilios Makrides (University of Erfurt, Germany).

In addition, a number of other colleagues have agreed to act as advisors.


In making potential content match our budget, we have defined the following work packages:


1.               a comparative legal survey,

2.               a comparative empirical survey;

3.               key issues to be researched by the core research team,

4.               case studies to be chosen through a call for contributions,

5.               associated projects,

6.               publications and dissemination.


This call for contributions serves to invite academic institutions and individual researchers to submit abstracts for projects to be included in work package 4.

By its very nature, the project is interdisciplinary. Please bear in mind, however, that we are social scientists, particularly political scientists, and not theologians, and that our field of academic interest is civil society as part of a larger society.


Recommended Topics

We are interested in a wide range of topics related to the overall focus of the project. Papers on the following topics would be especially welcome:

·       case studies in the context of one of the following countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Israel, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine;

·       case studies on local, regional or national issues;

·       studies on specific conflict situations, campaigns, practices or shifts in positions discussed and/or implemented by religious communities in the context of civil society;

·       studies focussing on religious communities in a minority position, such as Jewish communities outside of Israel and Muslim communities in non-Muslim European countries.


Submission Procedure and Publication Form 

1.     Individual researchers or teams working on the topic are invited to submit an abstract of 500 to 700 words. It should be written in English and clearly explain the focus of the proposed contribution. The deadline for submission is 15th July, 2016. All submitted abstracts will then be reviewed by the project team and the associates on the basis of their relative quality and relevance.

2.     All submitters will be notified by 1st October, 2016 at the latest. Approx.10 abstracts will be selected for inclusion.

3.     Contributions must be in English, should take the form of a research paper of approx. 10,000 to 15,000 words, and are expected to be submitted by 31st March, 2017 (negotiable). Each selected author or team will receive a remuneration of € 1,000. A first installment of € 300 will be disbursed after the selection of the abstract.

4.     All selected contributions will be reviewed and if finally accepted will be published under the author’s/authors’ name(s). Authors may additionally be approached to participate in a conference.


Abstracts should be sent to and further information is available from:

Sarah Albrecht at


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