Religious Citizens – University of Copenhagen

Religious Citizens

Varieties of European Secularity and Religious Subjectivity in Denmark, Spain, and Turkey

Religious Citizens explores how religious citizens associated with Lutheran Protestantism in Denmark, Catholicism in Spain, and Sunni Islam in Turkey, draw on – and are shaped by – both these religious traditions and the traditions of secular citizenship particular to each setting.

Taking seriously the multiplicity already encoded in the term religious citizen, the project analyzes the concerns and commitments that religious citizens formulate in relation to their own lives and in relation to wider society and the state within the intertwined trajectories of distinct religious traditions and national civic traditions. Our starting hypothesis is that it is useful to keep an open mind about the ways in which the commitment to certain religious traditions structures the practitioners’ imaginary of the secular. In studying adherents of religious traditions that have dominant positions in society and close relations to the state, the project asks what can be learned about Danish, Spanish, and Turkish secularity by approaching the state and its regimes of citizenship not as external to religious traditions but as co-constitutive of them.

With three case studies in Denmark, Spain, and Turkey, and a broadly comparative sub-project exploring the convergences and distinctions of secularism across Europe, the project seeks a better understanding of everyday religious life and its intertwinement with diverse formations of the secular by consciously disregarding the conventional division between “religious” and “secular” domains.

Religious Citizens officially started in January, and will get more under way throughout the spring and summer of 2014. This homepage will be regularly updated as the project progresses.

The project is funded by a general grant from The Danish Council for Independent Research| Humanities of 5.843.000 kr. spread over 3,5 years. Associate Professor Heiko Henkel is the principal investigator.

The four sub-projects are:

  • Forming Christian Citizens: Folkehøjskoler and Religious Secularity in Contemporary Denmark (Heiko Henkel)
  • The Sanctification of the Secular: Subjectivity and Citizenship in Spanish Catholicism (Astrid Grue)
  • Raising a Pious Generation: Religious and Civic Aspirations in Turkish Imam Hatip Education (Ida Hartmann)
  • Variations in European Secularity (Anders Berg-Sørensen and Heiko Henkel)