RL/PO 375 - Religion and Multiculturalism
Cultural and religious diversity has become a key challenge for societies and policy makers in Europe. In our modern world of globalization and international migration traditionally homogeneous European societies are facing the blurring of established spheres of cultural identities. Governments attempt to address these shifts through a variety of policy responses. However, growing skepticism about multiculturalism as the answer to Europe’s social problems has led some mainstream politicians to publicly denounce its dangers.
Despite predictions about the secularization of modern societies, religion has remained a stubborn presence in the social landscape. How does religious diversity play within the multicultural discourse? How to reconcile freedom of religion, which often translates into specific community practices, with historical values of European liberal societies? What is the place of religious symbols in the public sphere? What is the response of national governments to the demands of religious minorities, often immigrant populations? What are the socio-political implications of multiculturalism with regards to religion? These are some of the questions this course intends to explore. A variety of theoretical approaches, empirical findings and a selection of case-studies will be considered.