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									Religion Out of Place
International Conference
University of Copenhagen
29-31 August 2005


University of Copenhagen Amager, Karen Blixens Vej 1, 2300 Copenhagen S.
Conference room 27.0.09, 27.0.17, and 22.0.11.


 When Heresy is Treachery, and Dirt is Religion Out of Place

 Professor Eileen Barker, London School of Economics, United Kingdom

 There is nothing new in associating a nation, society, or any group of people with an identity that
 coincides with a religion. Nor is there anything new in subgroups and/or individuals within the
 nation or larger group adhering to a religion that differs from a traditional mainstream faith or
 „Mother Church‟. Sometimes alternative religions have coexisted in relative harmony. Sometimes
 they have not. This paper looks at some of the tensions that have arisen over the past few
 decades in both Western and Eastern Europe because of a belief that members of a particular
 political community should belong to a particular faith community. It tries to unravel some of the
 variables that affect the exclusiveness of religious perspectives and how these vary from place to
 place and time to time. It explores some of the consequences of globalization and some of the
 ensuing tensions between the geo-political and the religious for the realisation of a concept of
 civil religion on the one hand and the functioning of a civil society on the other. In doing this, it
 draws on the work of Mary Douglas, and her concept of dirt being matter out of place, in her
 explanation of the role of conceptual boundary drawing in perceptions of purity and danger.

 Cultural Governance, Democratic Iterations and the Question of Secularism

 Assistant Professor Anders Berg-Sørensen, Department of Political Science, University
 of Copenhagen, Denmark

 The aim of this paper is, first, to elaborate theoretically on the terms „cultural governance‟ and
 „democratic iterations‟ and, second, to illustrate the significance of this analytical perspective on
 the question of secularism in American and European political theory and history, especially the
 French Secularity Act and the implied civil religion. The claim to be forwarded is that secularism
 is to be conceived within this theoretical frame.
    The terms „cultural governance‟ and „democratic iterations‟ indicate an analytical focus on the
 cultural and narrative dimensions of democratic institutions and practices, e.g. with reference to
 national traditions, discourses, meanings and identities implied in political action. This focus
 highlights how governing produces and reproduces specific cultures, narratives and horizons of
 meaning. From this point of view secularism is not only a political doctrine, but also it is
 articulated as strategies of „cultural governance‟ within the field of „democratic iterations.‟
 Secularism is contested not only as a political doctrine articulated within political theory, but also
 within everyday political life and public debate. This elaboration on secularism as „cultural

governance‟ within the field of „democratic iterations‟ is to be illustrated by analysing the secular
and religious narratives articulated in the debate on the French Secularity Act and the implied
contest about (re)iterating French national political culture and civil religion.

Does the State Church System Foster Ethnocentrism and Xenophobia? A Study of
Survey Data from Denmark, Norway and Sweden

Researcher Pål Ketil Botvar, KIFO (Center for Church Research), Oslo, Norway

In the year 2000, Sweden abolished the old state-church system. In the other Scandinavian
countries, especially in Norway, there are currently growing debates on the relations between
state and church. The “national factor” is one of the elements in these discussions. Some
commentators are worried that the state-church is about to loose its position as an integrating
national symbol. Others tend to think that the close connections between church, state and
nation are problematic in many ways in any case. This paper contains an analysis of possible
links between aspects of national identity, religion, and xenophobia by using data from the
survey “National Identity 2003”, conducted in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden by the
International Social Survey Program. A closer look is taken at the relationship between attitudes
towards religion and church on the one hand, and positions on measures of ethnocentrism and
xenophobia, on the other. If such a connection is detected - what implications will this have for
the ongoing debate about the future relations between church and state?

Islam and Nationalism in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe: Migration and Globalization

Swietlana M. Czerwonnaja, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland.

The Islamic factor has always played an important role in the mobilization of the Eastern-
European Muslim peoples, who during the last centuries have been absorbed in the Russian
state. The expansion of Russian statehood has been followed by an expansion of Russian
nationalist ideology, which has dominated the Muslim population in the areas of social, political
and religious life. As a consequence, Muslims in the Russian state have searched for alliances
with their co-religionists in countries outside Russia. The common rhetoric for this co-operation
towards national independence has been the Islamic imperatives (first of all ideas of war against
"infidels") and an acceptance of the moral and political arguments of Pan-Islamism. However,
this rhetoric has flourished side by side with uniting concepts and theories (a united Tatar world,
a common "Caucasian home", Pan-Turkism and so on). During the past 15 years The Islamic
Factor has not lost its potential, - on the contrary, it has been one of the pillars of development
towards independence for the nations in the former USSR. The "Muslim problem" has been an
issue in every subject of the Russian Federation and of each of the independent states, which
has been built on the ruins of the USSR. The policy of these States, in the first line of the Russian
Federation, is marked by ignoring and disregarding the interests and rights of ethnic and
religious minorities, which has caused an extreme strengthening of the tension in inter-ethnic
and inter-confessional relations. In the presentation I will develop this extrapolation of Islam in
the post-soviet space and the role of Islam as a nation-building factor on the one side, and a
global movement on the other.

Cross-Cultural Operationalizing the Civil Religion Concept

Professor Sergej Flere, University of Maribor, Slovenia

This paper seeks to operationalise civil religion in a cross-cultural fashion. The paper is built on
research that has been conducted in a predominantly Protestant environment in the USA, in a
predominantly Roman Catholic environment of Slovenia, in a predominantly Muslim environment
of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in a predominantly Serbian Orthodox environment of Serbia, and on
university student samples. (Data collection in Japan is yet to be carried out). The results
indicate the possibility of establishing a culturally unbound instrument that can be used to
observating, measuring, and linking civil religion to other phenomena.

Nationalism as Civic Religion and Rituals of Belonging Before and After the Global Turn

Professor Ulf Hedetoft, Academy for Migration Studies in Denmark, Institute for
History, International and Social Studies, Aalborg University, Denmark

The paper will examine the religious dimensions of nationalism in historical perspective and with
special attention to what I have elsewhere termed the „profane sacrality‟ of national identity– as
both a formal and substantive „replacement‟ of public-collective religiosity following the modern
privatization of religious belief. „Die Nation fordert wie Gott liebende Hingabe‟ („the nation
requires, like God, loving, unselfish devotion‟), as the German political philosopher Erhard
Stölting once approvingly put it while George Mosse has called nationalism a „cult of death‟. The
paper will begin by briefly considering the rationale, modalities, and rituals/discourses of
nationalism-as-religion. It will proceed by having a look at such proto-religious rituals of
belonging in the phase of nationalism proper (between 1880 and 1945) and in the present age of
globalization, based on the assumption that significant transformations (of function, form, and
content) have taken place, e.g. as regards rituals of death and unselfish suffering –
transformations implying that national religiosity now finds itself positioned, uneasily, between
the pompousness of state ritualism, the mundaneness of civic allegiance, the nostalgia of past
glory, and the idealism of global causes and transnational belonging. The paper will finally
exemplify this hypothesis by taking a look at how these changes manifest themselves in a few
selected „domains‟: rituals of sacrifice; discourses of allegiance; and „banal‟ rituals of everyday

Religious Nationalism and Civil Religion. What is the difference?

Assistant Professor Annika Hvithamar, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

The concept of civil religion and the concept of religious nationalism seem to be overlapping.
Both notions define ideologies that have a religious content and both notions describe rituals and
ceremonies which serve as markers of a collective identity in civil society. Also, the two concepts
can be used to explain similar categories or phenomena such as „holy nations‟, „chosen peoples‟,
or nations being thought of as „protected by God‟. The two concepts, however, are rooted in
quite different academic traditions. The idea of civil religion stems from Robert Bellah‟s
interpretation of Rosseau‟s formula for a democratic society. Civil religion has since then been
much debated among sociologists of religion. The concept of religious nationalism, on the other
hand, has been used to describe movements, which combine a religious worldview with
nationalist ideology, and today it is part of the common vocabulary of any student of nationalism.
But is there a difference after all? This presentation will address this question by focusing on the
historical developments of the two concepts, the functional likenesses between them, and the
methodological dissimilarities.

Nationalism as Political Religion

Research Fellow Atsuko Ichijo, European Studies, Kingston University, United Kingdom

The paper explores the idea of nationalism as political religion in reference to different types of
religion and investigates its effectiveness in understanding the relationship between nationalism
and religion. Elie Kedourie has argued that nationalism is but a secularized form of religion
developed by marginalized intellectuals in the post-Enlightenment Europe. This thesis has been
adopted and developed by a number of scholars, most recently by Anthony D. Smith in his
Chosen Peoples (2003). The discussion so far has firmly based on the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Given that worldviews offered by various religions differ from each other to a large degree
especially in regard to the concept of time and the relationship between humans and divinity/the
supernatural/the sacred, it can be assumed that different religious traditions would have
different impacts on the worldview provided by nationalism. The paper finally examines the
„nationalism as political religion‟ thesis as developed by Kedourie and Smith in a Japanese
context in which historical and monotheistic religious traditions are weak.

Civil Religion in the Danish Parliament

Ph.D. student Brian Jacobsen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

This paper discusses the parliamentary opening tradition in Denmark with regard to key concepts
such as civil religion, nationalism, immigration, and globalization.
   The annual opening of the Danish Parliament is considered a day of celebration, marked by
several parliamentary traditions. It begins with a sermon in the Christiansborg Palace Church,
followed by a social gathering hosted by the ministry of ecclesiastical affairs. Following this, the
Royal Danish family and the official Danish elite (military leaders, the Bishop of Copenhagen, the
Mayor of Copenhagen etc.) are invited by the parliamentary governing body to witness the prime
minister‟s opening speech in the parliamentary hall. The opening speech and the subsequent
debate are transmitted live by the Danish state television.
   It is traditions such as the above mentioned that separate „us‟ from „them‟ in the Danish
context and construct the idea of the Danish (democratic) culture or nation as unique and
irreplaceable. In that sense, the nation becomes the source of collective meaning, and hence
„sacred‟, as Anthony D. Smith draws attention to in Chosen Peoples (2003).

Diyanet-Islam: Turkish Civil Religion out of Place?

Assistant Professor Lene Kühle, University of Aarhus, Denmark

The Turkish Diyanet organization is the largest Muslim organization in Europe. Diyanet
represents state-organized Islam, formed to fit the secularist intensions of the modern Turkish
state. The Diyanet-version of Islam is tolerant and inclusive. One of its main points is that
religion and politics should be separate and religion should be a private matter only. The
mosques associated with Diyanet clearly work as gathering places for Muslims of Turkish origin
and the Turkish descent is clearly demonstrated with Turkish flags and pictures of the founder of
modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The celebration of Turkish nationality seems for many
of the regular visitors to be more important than the religious celebrations. This paper will
discuss whether it is possible to interpret Diyanet-Islam as a Turkish civil religion and if this is
the case, in which regard it affects integration in Turkey.

A European Battlefield. Does the EU have a Soul?

External Lecturer Carin Laudrup, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

The concept of a formalized cooperation between European nation states in a European Union
has been through a long and extremely difficult process and at the time of writing the
Constitution has been rejected in referenda in France and the Netherlands. This has thrown the
project into a bit of a limbo. Political scientists will invariably come up with, on the one hand,
explanations in reflexive hindsight – could this have been predicted - and on the other hand,
proposals for how the EU train will or can be brought back on track while still respecting the
voice of the people i.e. maintaining the overall aim of one democratic institution “united in
  Research in the field of civil religion may throw some light on some of these problems. This
presentation will focus on two basic aspects of civil religion: Jean Jacques Rousseau‟s concept of
the good citizen and Emile Durkheim‟s concept of religion as a unifying factor in society. Theories
on the role of education as a means of preparing for citizenship will be investigated alongside
religious education curricula from a number of primarily Western European countries. These will
serve as examples in order to highlight the educational landscape and it will become clear that
there are roughly speaking two contradictory tendencies. Whether it is a question of national,
government-approved, state school curricula or church sponsored private education it will be
found that some strive towards a “wall” EU i.e. a compartmentalized EU, the other towards a
“web” EU i.e. a transnational EU, both of which may be seen as reactions to globalisation.

Nation and Religion in Denmark: National Identity in an Age of Globalization

Ph.D. Student Peter Lüchau, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

According to Bauman, globalization divides people into Tourists and Locally Tied People. The
former are those who travel physically, culturally, and mentally without constraints. The latter
are those who are stuck. Within the study of religion, globalization theory has been used to
divide religions into global entities (embracing the global condition and adapting to it) and
particularistic organizations (a defensive position rejecting the global condition). Likewise, there
seems to be a globalized elite who practises religious bricolage and also a group of religious
nationalists with anti-global viewpoints. This paper – attempting to fuse globalization theory and
empirical data on religion - looks at such conflicting groups using a Danish sample to discern not
only if they can be said to actually exist but also what kind of religion they have.

Dominion of the Gods: Putting Religion in its Place

Professor Roger O'Toole, University of Toronto at Scarborough, Canada

The sociological imperative to chart, explain and predict the state and fate of religion as a
distinct component of complex and contingent social structures and processes has become
increasingly precarious as secularization appears more elusive, globalization more inexorable and
religion itself more enigmatic.
  Through investigation of the evolution, character and underlying significance of the Canadian
religious landscape, recent developments in the religious sphere are placed within the broad
social, cultural, historical, economic, political, legal and educational context of an ongoing
national narrative. More specifically, the role of the religious factor in the current dynamics of
Canadian society is assessed against the background of (1) widely perceived processes of
secularization and religious privatization (2) the persistence of an encased Christian cultural
hegemony (once indispensable to the national identity) (3) the ambiguities and contradictions of
multicultural ideology and its implementation and (4) the impeded emergence of a vibrant

national civil religion. The nature of a religious pluralism linked inextricably to an increasingly
visible ethnic diversity is examined primarily in terms of interests, values, boundaries, identities
and communities: themes undoubtedly intrinsic to the uncivil religious rivalries of the past but no
less pertinent to the nascent religious mosaic of the Canadian metropolis.

Civil Religion and Nationalism. A Place (and State) of Mind

Ph.D. Student Renate Recke, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

St. István (St. Stephen), the first Christian monarch in Hungary, was crowned in 1001 A.D. by
Pope Sylvester II. This was a religious and political event allowing István to avoid the vassal
status of his nation that had been the result, had he asked the German-Roman Emperor for a
crown, but it also let Hungary establish itself as a Christian nation equal to other European
states. Wars against the Ottoman Turks in the 16th and 17th centuries constituted a danger to
Hungary‟s existence as did the Austrian Habsburg dynasty‟s expansion on Hungarian soil. These
three factors are detectable in nationalist discourse in modern Hungary. On August 20, St
Stephen‟s Day, Hungarians celebrate the founding of both the Hungarian state and its Christian
Church. In the civil religious discourses, Hungarian Christianity is contrasted with the Ottoman
culture of Muslim neighbouring nations, and St. István (Apostle of Jesus) is contrasted with
pagan Attila. The religious procession of St. István‟s Holy Right Hand starting from St. Stephen‟s
Basilica is also a political gesture rejecting the former Communist regime that prohibited the
celebration of St. Stephan‟s Day due to its patriotic and religious status. The presentation will
focus on an analysis of the St. István‟s Holy Right Hand procession and the interpretation of the
ritual, as it is understood by Hungarian Youth.

Civil Religion as contested State Religion?

Ph.D. Student Niels Reeh, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Before the introduction of a democratic State-form in 1848 there was no Civil Religion in
Denmark. Instead there was a State Church with a clearly defined State Religion. This State
Religion was among other things used as a mobilizing and disciplinary instrument by the Danish
Crown. In the army and in the school, first patriotism and latter nationalism replaced religion as
a mobilizing call of the State. With the change of State-form in 1848 a process was initiated in
which this State Religion gradually was dissolved. Historically State Religion seems to be prior to
Civil Religion. On this historical basis this paper seeks to examine some important underlying
conditions that has led to the advent of what has been called Civil Religion in the period following
the introduction of democracy in 1848.

Civil Religion in an Age of Autonomous Churches and Shrinking National Power

Professor Pål Repstad, Agder University College, Norway

This paper will make use of illustrations and perspectives from the Nordic countries. In these
countries, it has been common to place national civil religion inside or in close connection with
the national majority churches. What are the prospects for this church-related civil religion, in
the face of changes in the state apparatus confronted with globalization and market solutions, as
well as an increased ambition of self-government within the national churches? What is after all
the fate of civil religion in the Nordic countries in an age of globalization?

Nationalist Theology and Reconciliation in Pinochet‟s Chile

Independent Researcher Lene Sjørup, Denmark

This paper will analyze the public discourses of Sr. Pinochet and particularly how gender aspects
were included in a nationalist theology which militarized women and men under his dictatorship
in Chile. While the Chilean case in some ways conforms to “the international grammar of
nationalism”, the dictator himself played all the leading roles as God the creator, the militant
Christ, and the one who had a special pact with the Virgin of Carmen. After the transition to
democracy, Pinochet, now a “senator for life”, furthermore depicted himself as the suffering
servant who embodied the reconciliation of the country. The Chilean case demonstrates how the
semantics of nationalist religion is closely interwoven with very old and crucial elements of
Christian theology, especially the teachings about conflict, atonement and reconciliation, and
therefore may be brought into the political discourses of Latin America today.

Hierarchy and Covenant in the Formation of Nations

Professor Anthony D. Smith, London School of Economics

The keys to the formation and persistence of nations lie neither in the perennialist concern with
extended kinship nor the modernist interest in citizenship and inclusion.
  Rather we must seek them in the forms of distinctive, and mainly religious, public cultures and
sacred territories. Both can be traced back to premodern ethnies but they remain influential in
shaping many of today's nations.
   The crucial distinction here is between hierarchical and covenantal public cultures. Traceable
back to the ancient Near East, they have been recurrent in medieval and early modern Europe,
from England and the Netherlands to France and Russia, and their growth underlines the
importance of social and political processes in constituting communities that approximate to the
ideal type of the nation.
   They have also been critical in shaping modern forms of nationhood - in England and Japan,
as well as in the United States, France and Germany. These examples illustrate the importance
of both continuities and ruptures of values, myths, symbols and memories in the shaping of
modern nations.

Orthodoxy for Russia: Where is Wishful Thinking and Where is Reality?

Director Marina V.       Vorobjova,    Religious    Studies   Research     Centre    “Ethna”,       St.
Petersburg, Russia

Since the break-down of the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church has become increasingly
influential in Russia. Taking the diversity of the nations of the Russian Federation into
consideration, the question today is whether the Russian Orthodox Church is able to act as a civil
religion in contemporary Russia. It is obvious, that in the past few years the Russian Orthodox
Church has been trying to regain the positions it held before the Bolshevik revolution of 1917,
where it was the state church. It is also obvious that the renewed powerful position of the
Orthodox Church has caused a rise of nationalism among both the Orthodox people of Russia and
those who do not share this particular worldview. The main purpose of this particular
presentation is to analyse how the process of globalization influences church life and the lives of
the believers themselves in Russia. The empirical basis for answering this question is nationalistic
statements made by diverse Russian groupings within the last 15 years.

Transnational Civil Religions: Oxymorons or a Realistic Future?

Professor Margit Warburg, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

The concept of civil religion is intimately connected to the nation. This close connection to the
nation seems, however, to be weakened by two major trends of globalisation: Migration and the
rising internationalisation of politics. When migrants bring their domestic civil religion with them,
their loyalty to the host country may in the worst case be questioned. An interesting counter-
example is the joint Danish-American civil religious festival held in Denmark to celebrate 4 th of
July. This example shows that the sharing of civil religion across borders is not totally impossible.
The rising internationalisation of politics has nurtured a host of transnational NGOs and an
increasing emphasis on „universal‟ value systems, such as Human Rights, which harbours
potential world civil religion elements. Can we expect to see an increasing contingent of „world
citizens‟ bearing forward ideals that may develop into a world civil religion? On the basis of the
general globalisation discussion, I argue, however, that the tension between global and local
affiliation of individuals will colour the way even universal ideals of civil religious nature are
expressed. Thus, the emergence of a „pure‟ world civil religion is hardly conceivable. Civil religion
in the globalising world may therefore best be analysed as a composite of components from two
ideal types: a local and a global civil religion, where the global civil religion can accommodate
transnational ideals of Human Rights, democracy etc.


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