Workshop "Public institutions ..."

International Workshop

Public institutions as the venue for negotiating religious diversity and secularism in Europe


To be held at the MPI-MMG (Göttingen) on 31 August-1 September 2016


In the last years, a growing number of scholars from Western and Southern Europe as well as North America have studied public responses to increasing religious diversity in the particular context of public institutions. Empirical inquiries have analysed the different ways in which these state-run institutions define the place and role of religion. Such organizational settings have proven to be an excellent vantage point from which to analyze state-religion relationship and states’ responses to religious diversification, but also immigrant (particularly Muslim) accommodation.

In 2014 an international workshop was organized in Barcelona to discuss about the methodological challenges, institutional comparisons and key variables in the analysis of religious diversity governance in state-run institutions. The result of that meeting was the creation of the Religion and Public Institutions Research Network.

The workshop to be held in Göttingen lies in the continuity of the work done so far in the network. Yet, its main aim is to move forward the research agenda by discussing how the study of religion and religious accommodation of minorities through the lens of public institutions opens new perspectives for social research. Particular attention will be paid to topics such as forms of cooperation across religious denominations and conflict in public institutions that involves religion as well as to cross-national comparisons of religion in public institutions. To explore the potential of studying public institutions as a delimited field where religion and the public space are negotiated, the workshop brings together scholars who work on religion in public institutions such as prisons, hospitals or the military with scholars who work in different sub fields such as sociology of religion, sociology of organizations, migration research or history of public institutions.


Dr. Ines Michalowski, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung


Dr. Julia Martínez-Arińo, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity