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6 - The European Union's Civil Religion in the Making?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2014

Ireneusz Paweł Karolewski
Affiliation:
University of Wroclaw
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Summary

Introduction

There has been a long debate over the role of religion in the public sphere (for instance Bellah 1967; Coleman 1970; Casanova 1994; Norris and Inglehart 2004; Habermas 2006) as well as over the secularisation and (de)privatisation of religion in Western societies (for instance, Taylor 2007; Calhoun et al. 2011; Putnam and Campbell 2012). In this and other debates, the relationship between religion and politics has been often conceptualised as a dichotomous one, whereby these two spheres (the sacral and the political) are viewed as easily distinguished and analysed as separate sectors of a modern society, whereby only their configurations are subject to change. Against this background, scholars explore for instance the impact of organised religion on nation-building and national identity (Jakelic 2010) or develop normative ideas about religious incorporation into the political life of democratic societies (Bader 2011).

In contrast, this chapter argues in tune with S. N. Eisenstadt's perspective (2005: 161) that religion should not be equated with the sacral, since many central dimensions of modern states are deeply rooted in the religious components of modern civilisation, even though in a modified form and frequently with a different appeal to legitimacy and ethos. In this sense, basic social functions of religion (such as strengthening of collective bonds, promotion of collective solidarity and social control through participation in collective rituals) are transformed and can function in secular terms, as they are often constitutive of political ideologies and without straightforward religious references.

Type
Chapter
Information
Religion and Politics
European and Global Perspectives
, pp. 97 - 114
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2014

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