Special Issue "Nonreligion in Central and Eastern Europe"
A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 3859
Interests: social theory; sociology of religion; sociology of media
The number of nones—individuals who do not associate with any religion—is growing worldwide. While there is now a large body of research concerning the place of the nonreligious in English-speaking countries, most notably North America and the UK, studies of Eastern Europe remain scarce. Meanwhile, surveys show that in countries such as Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary, the dominant churches are beginning to lose their authority, and the disconnect between the religious institutions and the worldview and values of the average citizen is most evident in the 18–24 age group.
As nonreligion is notoriously difficult to define, the extant research on Central and Eastern Europe often explores the lives of those at the most extreme end of the spectrum, such as the narrow category of avowed atheists. Extending the scope to include the nonreligious allows for the inclusion of a wider variety of experience of those who would place themselves at different points in the typology of the nonreligious. This is especially important if we wish to include gendered experiences of nonreligion; studies show that openly adopting an atheist identity is socially riskier for women than it is for men. Moreover, city dwellers and the highly educated are more likely to inhabit their nonreligious identity comfortably, away from the scrutiny of their social environment, while those in rural settings will encounter different challenges to their worldview.
The phenomenon of nonreligion in Central and Eastern European region also has its own unique characteristics. The forty-year period of communism fundamentally influenced people’s relationship with the transcendent. The large-scale marginalization of institutional religiosity and the difficulties of living the religious experience resulted in a different structure of religiosity in the post-regime period. In most of the region, either religiosity has become characteristic in its own way, religious worldviews have been firmly marginalized (e.g., in the Czech Republic or East Germany), or the dominance of ecclesiastical religiosity has been preserved (e.g., in Poland). These three directions affect the interpretation of nonreligious reality differently, depending on what nonreligious identities the social space allows. This Special Issue offers an opportunity to interpret these identities and to examine the relationship between the nonreligious and the dominant cultural religion through addressing the following questions:
- What are the specific features of nonreligiosity in the region where society has been fundamentally secularized and has moved away from the religious worldview in its values?
- What are the forms of nonreligiosity in countries where religiosity not according to the teaching of the church is characteristic and where a high degree of syncretism is observed in relation to the transcendent?
- How does nonreligion manifest itself in the cultural contexts where Catholicism dominates public life, and the Catholic Church is an influential voice in political debates which in turn influence private lives?
- How do nonreligious people define their own worldview?
- Is there such a thing as nonreligious citizenship in countries characterized by cultural religion?
- To what extent, if at all, are the nonreligious discriminated against in everyday life, and what strategies do they adopt to function in a religiously homogeneous culture?
- Relying on spatial sociology, are there any social spheres that offer more space for the nonreligious worldview? Do these spaces appear more in the public or private sphere in the differently religious countries of the region?
We invite papers which focus on the above-listed themes and on the subject of nonreligion in Central and Eastern Europe more broadly. We intend to create a comprehensive picture of lived nonreligion in the region. We particularly welcome empirical analyses of the relationship between the nones and the mainstream or minority religious cultures.
Dr. Bulcsu Bognár
Dr. Marta Trzebiatowska
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- Central and Eastern Europe
- everyday nonreligion
- social space