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EDMIDI-DUBLIN 2008 RELIGION AS COMMUNICATION by Enzo Pace, Dpt.of Sociology, University of Padova.

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Presentation on theme: "EDMIDI-DUBLIN 2008 RELIGION AS COMMUNICATION by Enzo Pace, Dpt.of Sociology, University of Padova."— Presentation transcript:

1 EDMIDI-DUBLIN 2008 RELIGION AS COMMUNICATION by Enzo Pace, Dpt.of Sociology, University of Padova

2 Religion as communication in the European multicultural societies Theoretical assumptions and methodological implications for the research on religion/migration/identity/diversity

3 The main goal: To discuss some theoretical and methodological aspects focusing on the relation between rel/multi-cult-ural societies. In sociological terms what does religion mean when we try to understand power’s conflicts, social stratification and collective memory (Halbwachs) or consciousness (Durkheim) in so called multicultural societies?

4 First theoretical assumption: Rel as generalized symbolic code of the social action If religion is a generalized symbolic code interpreting the meanings of the every-day life of people (individual and social norms, dressing and food, rules of marriage and divorce, inner-world asceticism and so on), religion is a mean of communication by which people or social groups represent themselves as those who share common emotions, values, rules, and perform consequently in the social action.

5 2^ assumption: REL as communication works as a mean for reducing the complexity of the socio-cultural environment, coping with a new religious pluralism. The new migration patterns today are private migrations, not state-sponsored movements of personnel to secure shares of a colonial cake. As a result, we have three major categories of voluntary transplants: when a people moves into a different territory where there is no comparable civilisation, and takes its law (rooted in a religious system of belief) with it. when a people move into a different territory where there is a comparable civilisation, and takes its law (rooted in a religious system of belief) with it. when a people voluntarily accepts a large part of the system of another people or peoples.

6 The most sharpest shifts adopting this theoretical approach: First: the changing boundaries of the socio- religious landscape of a society and the collective feeling “we are loosing our identity”

7 Second: new religious boundaries inside and outside the historical system of belief which shaped and shapes the national identity and the taken-for-granted of the life-world Third: new boundaries mean religions in motion: not only people coming to Europe transplant new systems of belief (exporting a sort of a stratified cliff of symbols) but also they are doing an unexpected attempt to invent new boundaries in Europe

8 Methodological assumptions As an anthropologist, Roger Ballard (1994) highlighted in this respect the phenomenon of ‘skilled cultural navigation’, I have expanded this in my own work to include skilled religious navigation in a pluralist socio-cultural (and legal too -Menski, ) context. Whether we like it or not, various do-it-yourself strategies of new migrants now everywhere undercut the official religious system of belief and will operate silently in the shadow of the official religions - until one day we notice their presence, and then new questions will have to be asked. It is better if we begin to know what goes on in the shadow of the official religions, otherwise there may be some difficult surprises eventually, when it is too late for discussion. The new frontier in the social sciences of religion is the exploration of the multiple dimension of the free religious market in Europe: official, unofficial, semi-official, underground, hosted, not tolerated religious affiliations.

9 Most medium and large sized European cities are a sort of an open-air laboratory in which different religious and ethnic communities cope with social solidarity amid outsiders (Habermas, 1997). Implications for the research 1. The focus could be the interactive pluralism that is shaping the religious European landscape, studying the conflicts and the relations among various religious denominations at the micro- level. it allows to avoid two conceptual traps: the first, a religion as “one size fit all” and the second, religion as “erratic block” (both natives and newcomers) instead in motion (again both of them);

10 studying the impact of this new religious landscape on the politics of Paradise: mapping the social, religious and political actors which coming up with the discourse on the identity against the invaders The tension between cultural uniformity and a difference of identities can be well grasped by observing the evolution of socio-religious dynamics of cities. Most medium and large sized European cities are a sort of an open-air laboratory in which different religious and ethnic communities cope with social solidarity amid outsiders (Habermas, 1997).


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