Ethics and Politics in Plural Societies

'Freedom.’ Anonymised picture sent by a woman in Iran, 2022

Religions extend their reach beyond the realm of private matters, shaping people’s actions as both citizens and professionals, as well as informing the public discourse on ethical issues. We critically investigate the conceptual frames through which religious diversity is understood and regulated in societies across Europe, Africa, and Asia.

We explore the boundaries of religious freedom and the visibility of religious majority and minorities in the public sphere. Additionally, we study the rise of religion-related tensions and violent conflicts, seeking to understand conflictual sensibilities, value systems, and visual regimes that stem from divergent religious and secular positions and contribute to sustaining or resolving disputes. Our department pursues this inquiry through an interdisciplinary approach, integrating ethics, political philosophy, anthropology, religious studies, and conflict studies.

Our researchers ask questions such as: What is the role of politics in shaping religious beliefs, practices, and identities, and vice versa? Why do certain religious manifestations in the public domain become a matter for debate and conflict? Which ethical and political issues arise when people from different religious backgrounds live and work together in private and public institutions such as markets, schools, and hospitals? How might professionals in pedagogical institutions effectively laverage their diverse religious and philosophical orientations in a productive manner? Which positions do religious actors take in conflict situations where violence is committed and justified? More generally: is it possible to work towards ethics and politics that support ideals of freedom and equality in contemporary plural societies?