Observatory on Religion in Public Space  

aims to address the complex relationships between religion, politics and culture on a global scale, even though it pays specific attention to Southern European contexts and their relationships with the external border, with Africa and Islam, and with Latin America. We argue that the so called "(re) emergence of religion in Europe" and beyond - seen as something related to the increase in religious diversity and the debate about the relationships between secularism and modernity - requires a historical and comparative perspective.

Our approach will rely on three pillars:

1. A critical discussion of essentialist exclusiveness of religious canons (i.e., the difficulty that religions seem to reveal in relation to the ecology of religious experiences as well as in the recognition of the relevance of "secular structures") that prevents the debate between religion and politics as well as the configuration of societies as spaces of cultural / religious diversity and tolerance;

2. A postcolonial debate that seeks to question the policy of religious diversity and religious identity of European societies, taking into account the historicity of the process that transformed Europe in the modern West;

3. A dialogue with the global South focused on the analysis and visibility of new religious experiences and other articulations between religion and politics.

POLICREDOS aims to develop contextualized research on the following topics:

a) Power relations between the Catholic church, the State and the civil society, taking into account that the recent dictatorial regimes in the context of Southern Europe have shaped these relationships and, therefore, also the debates on religious diversity;

b) The relevance of the current analyses of the so called "(re) emergence of religion in Europe", with the aim of understanding both the processes of secularization and de-secularization, and the construction of Europe as a space of tolerance;

c) The relevance of Southern European geo-cultural location for extending the academic debate by highlighting the ambivalence produced by its position as an external border with South Africa, Islam and Latin America;

d) The emerging issues within Christianity, from the point of view of alternative group, internal to the dominant paradigm groups, and the point of view of other religious currents;

e) The articulation, historically constructed, between the politics of 'race' and religion that currently informs the governance of "minorities" and the construction of their political struggles and their subjectivities;

f) The emergence of new religious experiences and the articulation between religion and politics on a global scale, particularly in the global South;

g) The construction of "otherness" within the proper limits of a religious approach that defines itself as ecumenical.

POLICREDOS articulates criticism and normative approaches from different disciplines, seeking to contribute to an "ecology of knowledge" around religion and its relationship with politics and culture.

POLICREDOS develops its activity in partnership with the University Fernando Pessoa.



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Center of Excelence - Assessment of Research Units carried out by the Ministry of Science and Technology, 2005