Religious Activism between Politics and Everyday Life: Mobilizing and Mediating the Religious in Eastern Europe and in the Caucasus

Convenors: Tsypylma Darieva (ZOiS, Berlin); Regina Elsner (ZOiS, Berlin), Jeanne Kormina (HSE St. Petersburg/Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin) 

Contemporary discussions on the resurgence of religion in Eastern Europe and Eurasia are controversial and the pathways of de-secularization processes can take different forms. There is a rise of critical views towards ‘improper’ religiosity that may go back to the legacies of the Soviet atheist understanding of religious traditions, on one hand, and to emerging alternative religious concepts of life, on the other hand. In this context, post-socialist Eurasia offers fruitful arenas for the study of new religious activism and aspirations (believing without belonging) in those domains where religion is seen as a source of mobility, morality, and heritage, where legal and social frameworks are constantly being changed, negotiated, and contested. To serve particular purposes, sacred is mobilized and mediated in a variety of ways and transactions often merging with social, political and economic activities. The main question of the workshop is how diverse faith-based activities (large and small scales, formal and informal) are mobilized and mediated among citizens by religious institutions and informal believers in Eastern Europe and in the Caucasus? Mobilizing and mediating the religious may produce conservative, but also innovative ways of identification, morality, human rights solidarity and concepts of being successful in unstable societies. For that the religious may use different communication ways and networks beyond traditional prayer houses and church systems. The 1,5-day workshop “Religious Activism” seeks to discuss concepts and practices of mobilizing and mediating the religious in post-socialist Eastern Europe and in the Caucasus from different disciplinarian points of views: anthropology, theology, sociology.

Download Programme