Special Issue "Secularism and Religious Traditions"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 5 September 2022 | Viewed by 232

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Joanna Kulska
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of International Relations, Uniwersytet Opolski, 45-061 Opole, Poland
Interests: international cultural relations; religion in international relations; conflict resolution and peace building; civil society; social movements; the evolution of modern diplomacy
Dr. Anna M. Solarz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Political Science and International Studies, University of Warsaw, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland
Interests: religion in international relations; international relations in the Middle East; Israeli foreign policy; the Holy See in international relations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

When the founders of modern social sciences, such as Emile Durkheim and Max Weber, theorized about the relationship between religion and social change, they foresaw secularization becoming one of the effects of the modernization process. A combination of numerous phenomena such as industrialization, urbanization, a scientific world view, rationalism, individualism, pluralism, and finally, secularism cumulating in the Western world are perceived as the core of modernization, characterizing the West and, in a sense, “reserved” only for some societies but not for others. Yet, upon reflection, the idea developed that the Western monopoly on modernization and the consequences of this offered an exclusive and limiting perspective. In the contemporary world, in fact, one encounters multiple modernities. Understanding this world and how it transforms multiple perspectives is thus necessary.

The cognitive and epistemological need to “reach beyond” the West is nothing new in the area of social science. Yet, we still face the problem of the “subconscious”, Western-oriented comprehension and analysis of social reality, which is clearly visible when the Western perspective on religion and its role in modern societies is applied. The essence of this limited approach was embodied not only in the secularization theory that dominated the area of social science for decades. It also revealed itself in secularism, indicating the dichotomic separation between the “private” and “public”, as well as the “communal” and the “individual”. An attempt to counter the dominating perspective of this “secular bias” in world politics and Western political science has been advocated over the last two decades by scholars who propose a revised, dialogue-oriented perspective of the “postsecular”, which aims to bridge secular and religious ideas for the benefit of those who are both religious and atheist.

In every religion that we propose to define as humanity’s relationship with the supernatural, the transcendent or the otherworldly, more inclusive, positive approaches, as well as more exclusive, critical approaches, toward contemporary social changes are present. Some of them do encourage a dialogue with the world, while others do not. Some approaches tend to become truly globalized religions (“global Christianity”, “global Islam”) and some do not have such ambitions, limiting themselves to national social–political influences (Hinduism in India, Judaism in Israel, Orthodoxy in Russia). What brings them all together is that social–political developments, both locally and globally, can rarely be understood without referring to relatively visible or direct religious determinants.

With this Special Issue, we hope to widen the scope of the ongoing discussion on the problem of secularism in different religious traditions. We invite scholars dealing with this religious topic within numerous disciplines of social science, especially focusing on mutual relations between religion and politics, both in the domestic and international dimensions.

Taking into consideration the richness of ideas and aims represented by different religious traditions and actors, among the numerous possible questions and approaches we propose the following:

* How do particular religious traditions behave in the face of modernity? Is their reaction to cut themselves off from the world or to catch up with the changes that are taking place? Do both of these processes occur simultaneously?

*How are the functions of different evolving religions influenced by modernity and postmodernity?

*How do these changes affect the identity of individuals and groups?

*To what extent can we use and how should we define “secularism” in non-Western religious traditions?

*Is the term “postsecularism” applicable in non-Western contexts?

*How can religion be researched considering its multidimensional presence and influence it on a local and global scale? 

  • Abstract submission deadline: 5 June.2022
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: 5 July.2022
  • Full manuscript deadline: 5 September.2022

Dr. Joanna Kulska
Dr. Anna M. Solarz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • secularism
  • post secularism
  • modernity and postmodernity
  • politics and religion

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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