Special Issue "Religious Diversity in a Pluralistic Society"
A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2017)
Dr. Alberto Da Silva Moreira
Questions of religious diversity and pluralism are of great importance in contemporary societies (Beckford, 2003; Heelas and Woodhead, 2005b). A large number of religious diversity and mapping studies have emerged in recent years. These often local, regional and qualitative investigations have greatly extended our knowledge about questions of religious diversity and pluralism, from Europe to China, from North America to Latin-American countries. Roughly speaking, we move from a general and sociographic overviews of the phenomenon (i.e., Eck, 2001; Willaime, 2004; Pollack, 2008; Bouma, 2010; Bochinger, 2012) sometimes based on interpretation of official statistical data (in particular, national census) (Bovay, 1997; Oro and Mariano, 2011) to a mapping study focused on limited geographical areas (cities or regional areas: Cnaan and Boddie, 2001; Humbert, 2004; Martikainen, 2004; Helaas and Woodhead, 2005, and at national level: Hero, 2008; Woodhead, Catto, 2012; Pace, 2013). Among the studies, many of them focused on the evolution of religious diversity, affecting specific religions transplanted in a different context due to migration processes, in particular Muslim, Tamil, Sikh and Hindu communities in Western societies.
The distinction (suggested by Bouma, 1997; Beckford, 2003; Stolz and Baumann, 2007) between a descriptive notion of religious diversity and a normative framework that rules religious pluralism represents a heuristic starting point in understanding the social and religious changes in the contemporary world, due to the growing pressure of migration, and cultural and religious differentiation. The presence of cultures and traditions different from those that historically shaped various nations triggers processes of relating and comparing many aspects of daily social life, from politics to education, from economics to healthcare, from legal institutions to media, as well as the relationships between generations and genres.
The first aim of this Special Issue is to highlight how the factual situation of cultural and religious diversity may lead to individual, social and political choices of organized and recognized pluralism. It implies a redefinition of both the individual and collective identities, incessantly moving along the continuum that ranges from exclusion to inclusion. Starting from the different levels of legitimacy granted to religions other than one’s own, changes in the relationship between religion and politics, as well as are the coexistence and/or conflict among the various religions and between the believers and their own religions. One important aspect concerns the role of the state, and official institutions may play to benefit or to marginalize different and competing religious groups and movements. On the other hand, competing religious groups may increase their influence over the state and official politics, or even put into practice political strategies to co-opt the state apparatus. In this sense, the move to a religious pluralistic global landscape puts new questions on the relationship between democracy and religious diversity. Other important aspects concern the theological hard work that churches and religious communities are obligated to develop, in order to integrate or at least to respond to the social fact of religious diversity in their everyday lives and doctrines.
We are coping with a global religious field, according to the seminal studies by Roland Robertson. Such an unprecedented situation requires new tools, both at conceptual and methodological levels in order to be analyzed properly. Religious diversity actually obligated social scientists of religion and theologians to come up with new theoretical approaches and methods of analyses. The transition from religious diversity to religious pluralism is one of the most important challenges that will reshape the role of religion in contemporary society. The second aim of the Special Issue is to invite scholars, both of social sciences of religions and the theology of religious pluralism, to reflect on the new cognitive perspectives we need to come up with in order to comprehend (in Weberian terms) the social and political changes due to global religious diversity.
Prof. Dr. Enzo Pace
Prof. Dr. Alberto Da Silva Moreira
Manuscript Submission Information
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- Religious diversity and iperdiversity
- religion & politics of identity
- theology of religious diversity