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SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell

Religion and integration: Religious pluralization as cultural condition for social cohesion and social conflict in a post-secular era

Tildelt: kr 0,18 mill.

The relationship between religious pluralization and social cohesion and conflict has been a fiercly debated issue both in academe and in politics for decades. Political and cultural trends in Europe today seem to make the link into a defining problem of our times. This project addresses a limited number of research questions across a number of modern societies and religious cultures, including Scandinavia and other European regions, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Israel, China and South Africa. Our m ain question may be stated thus: How do states, organizations and individuals perceive religious pluralization as a cultural condition for social cohesion and/or social conflict and what implications do such perceptions have on macro-, meso and micro-leve ls? Religious pluralization is a cultural condition for change on several levels. On the macro-level, states on all continents make decisions about the political regulation of the religious field based on perceptions of increasing pluralization. One trend is to opt for secularist policies of various kinds. Another trend is to opt for pluralist policies that embrace diversity and support religious organizations, but there are great variation between conceptualisations of pluralism in different states. On t he meso-level, i.e. in civil society, religious pluralization is creating new relationships between religious organizations and between religious leaders. One positive consequence of this is the inreasing focus in interreligious dialogue, which in itself presupposes particular perceptions of religious groups and the possible relations and boundaries between them. On the micro-level, i.e. the level of the individual in society, religious pluralization may create relativization. A basic presumption in the r esearch of sociologists like Peter L. Berger, Bryan Wilson and Steve Bruce is that increasing levels of diversity make the truth claims of individual religions relative and erode faith.

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SAMKUL-Samfunnsutviklingens kulturell