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Call for papers: “Religion and Political Parties in Contemporary Democracies” (ECPR General Conference, Hamburg, 22-25 August 2018)

Call for papers

Panel on “Religion and Political Parties in Contemporary Democracies”

Convenor: Luca Ozzano, University of Turin, luca.ozzano@unito.it

ECPR General Conference, Hamburg, 22-25 August 2018, https://ecpr.eu/Events/EventDetails.aspx?EventID=115

Section on “Revisiting Religion and Politics Research: Achievements, Critique, Future Questions” (Convenors Anja Hennig and Luca Ozzano)


The role of religion in contemporary democracies has been for decades neglected by mainstream political science. Although in the 2000s and 2010s many authoritative works have started to cast light on this field, the state of the art of specific studies on the role of religion in political parties is however still not satisfactory. This is mainly because works on this subject have often focused on the category of religious party, which does not fully account for the role of the religious factor in parties which cannot be labelled as ‘religious’ as a whole. This paper aims at going beyond this deadlock by looking at the role of religion not only in ‘religious’ parties, but also in officially secular parties (e.g.: conservative, nationalist, progressive, etc.) which however have some kind of religious orientation, in terms of values, connections to religious institutions and movements, and/or religious orientation of sizeable sectors of their social base. This orientation of the panel also meets the broader aims of the conference section on “Revisiting Religion and Politics Research”, in terms of questioning the state of the art of the literature on religion and parties, too focused on the concept of ‘religious party’, and proposing alternative paths and methodologies for research on this sub-field. Both theoretical contributions, as well as comparative works and in-depth single case studies (on a single political party or a national case) are welcome. To propose a paper, please send an abstract of up to 200 words to luca.ozzano@unito.it by 30 January 2018.


New Book: Religiously Oriented Parties and Democratization

Religiously Oriented Parties and Democratization Edited by Luca Ozzano, Francesco Cavatorta


Routledge – 2014 – 174 pages

Series: Democratization Special Issues


To the surprise of both academics and policy-makers, religion has not been relegated entirely to the private sphere; quite the contrary. Over the last few decades, religion has begun to play a significant role in public affairs and, in many cases, directly in political systems. This edited volume analyses in detail how religion and religious precepts inform the ideology, strategies and electoral behaviour of political parties. Working with an original and innovative typology of religiously oriented political parties, the book examines cases from different regions of the world and different religious traditions to highlight the significance of religion for party politics. This interest for religiously oriented parties is combined with an interest in processes of democratic change and democratic consolidation. Political parties are central to the success of processes of democratization while religion is seen in many circles as an element that prevents such success because it is perceived to be a polarising factor detrimental to the consensus necessary to build a liberal-democratic system. Through the different case-studies presented here, a much more complex picture emerges, where religiously oriented political parties perform very different and often contradicting roles with respect to democratic change.

This book was published as a special issue of Democratization.


1. Introduction: religiously oriented parties and democratization (Luca Ozzano and Francesco Cavatorta) 2. The many faces of the political god: a typology of religiously oriented parties (Luca Ozzano) 3. The perils of polarization and religious parties: the democratic challenges of political fragmentation in Israel and Turkey (Sultan Tepe) 4. Moderation through exclusion? The journey of the Tunisian Ennahda from fundamentalist to conservative party (Francesco Cavatorta and Fabio Merone) 5. Refining the moderation thesis. Two religious parties and Indian democracy: the Jana Sangh and the BJP between Hindutva radicalism and coalition politics (Christophe Jaffrelot) 6. Ahab and the white whale: the contemporary debate around the forms of Catholic political commitment in Italy (Alberta Giorgi) 7. Religious parties in Chile: the Christian Democratic Party and the Independent Democratic Union (Juan Pablo Luna, Felipe Monestier and Fernando Rosenblatt) 8. Religion and democratization in Northern Ireland: is religion actually ethnicity in disguise? (Eoin O'Malley and Dawn Walsh) 9. Conclusion: reassessing the relation between religion, political actors, and democratization (Luca Ozzano and Francesco Cavatorta)