Call for papers Regulating religions? Legal and social status in contemporary Europe, Porto, 1-2 October 2020

Anne-Laure Zwilling's picture
Call for Papers
October 1, 2020 to October 2, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Political Science, Religious Studies and Theology, Social Sciences, Law and Legal History

Eurel (, on religions in Europe) invites scholars across disciplines to address the topic of the regulation of religion by state authorities in its upcoming conference Regulating religions? Legal and social status in contemporary Europe. The conference features keynote lectures by Grace Davie (Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Exeter) and Jónatas Machado (Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Coimbra).


The regulation of relation between the states and religious groups has often been the focus of scholarly interest, especially in the ’90s, when the so-called New Religious Movements drew a lot of attention. Nowadays, many rapid changes occurring at the same time (evolution of the religious landscape, changes in political discourses, secularisation, movements of population, etc.) encourages further consideration of the subject. With its specific approach, the Eurel network brings together specialists of law and social sciences of religion, and it intends to tackle this issue at its next conference.

The conference will address the issue of regulating convictional groups from multiple perspectives that take into account the formal as well as informal aspects of this regulation. It will consider different aspects of the question:

-           Theoretical debates on the concept of regulation

-           Measuring state regulation of religions

-           Consequences of regulating religions

-           (Un)regulating religious minorities

-           Cross-national comparisons of regulation modalities

-           Visible and invisible forms of regulation

Firstly, the theoretical debates on the concept of regulation, and their evolution, will be of interest.

Also, the conference will consider how religion is regulated legally, politically and socially. This includes, but is not restricted to legal developments and case law, policies and regulations, administrative and institutional procedures, and every day on-the-ground practises.

The impact of the regulation of religions is diverse: there can be financial or social fall back on religious groups as well as on the society at large. The regulation can also affect the organisation of religious groups, their political involvement, but also their attractiveness. It can also have consequences on ethical issues (for instance in the medical field, or for conscience objection). It can also influence religious practices. Contributions studying any of these aspects of the consequences of the regulation of religions, and others, are welcome.

The specific issue of the regulating of religious minorities, and the growth or decrease of such regulation, is also of interest.

Regulating religion can be considered by adopting macro, meso- and micro perspectives. Comparative studies of the regulation of religions across countries (macro), studies examining regulation at the level of institutions (meso), and studies examining the micropolitics of the regulation of religion (micro), among other themes, are all welcome. The conference will also pay attention to how certain forms of regulating religion travel across the borders of states and how forms of regulation designed and implemented in certain urban contexts may be adopted by others. By considering these policy transfers, the conference will shed light on the actors, mechanisms and processes that facilitate the spread of certain forms of regulation.

While the state and state actors are central to this regulation of religion, attention should also be paid to non-state actors who, through different forms (dialogue, partnerships, networks…), contribute to the regulation of religion, sometimes invisibly. These non-state actors may include religious organisations, NGOs and FBOs, civil-society organisations, etc.

The call invites two types of presentations:

1. The conference invites papers (that should not last more than 20 minutes) with approaches based in political science, sociology, and law. Papers will address any of the themes mentioned above.

2. The conference also invites young researchers (PhD students or PhD obtained less than 3 years ago) to present their work in a dedicated workshop under a short format, the ‘Pecha Kucha’ format (20 slides with each one coming every 20 seconds). Their presentation should be relevant to the general topic of the conference. The long format, paper presentation, is also available for young researchers. Transport grants will be available for young researchers opting for a short format who do not receive institutional support to attend the conference.


Proposals for one of these two types (paper proposals, or short format proposals) of no more than 300 words, can be submitted on the conference website by 29 February 2020. Proposals must specify which conference theme the paper addresses, and indicate the author’s contact information and institutional affiliation. They should be accompanied by a short CV (2 pages max.). French and English are the official languages of the conference. The paper presentations must be in one of these languages.


Authors will be notified in May 2020 if their proposal has been accepted. Transportation fees will not be taken in charge.

Conference scientific committee: Francesco Alicino (Italy), Anaïd Lindemann (Switzerland), Julia Martinez-Ariño (Netherlands and Spain), Nikola B. Šaranović (Montenegro), Helena Vilaça (Portugal), and Anne-Laure Zwilling (France).

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