Interdisciplinary Studies at Work: Models of Church-State Relations in Eastern Europe

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This presentation reports on original research conducted in Eastern Europe. Based on the systematic collection and analysis of data, the analysis identified the competing models of church-state relations proposed in new democracies by the political elite, the religious majority and religious minority groups, and the civil society. While the literature to date has looked at the relationship between states and one religious denomination at a time, or discussed the compatibility with democracy of major religions, we argue that post-communist models of church-state relations can be identified at the country level and they fall into three major categories based on a) political representation for church leaders, b) governmental subsidies, c) registration of religions by the state, and d) religious instruction in public schools. In the Czech church-state separation model religion and politics are treated as distinct areas of human endeavor, the government is secular, and religion is a private matter. The pluralist model of Hungary, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania sees society as made up of complementary autonomous spheres each worthy of recognition and support from the state. In the dominant religion model the religious majority is given precedence over other groups. Informally, Poland, Romania and Estonia maintain privileged ties to their religious majorities. This presentation describes some of the challenges of conducting interdisciplinary exploratory research.


Keywords: Religion and Politics, Church-State Relations, Post-Communist Democratization
Stream: Politics, Public Policy and Law
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Lavinia Stan

Professor, Department of Political Science, Concordia University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

A political scientist by training, Dr. Stan has conducted research on post-communist democratization, religion and politics, transitional justice, the politics of memory, social capital, and governmental performance. She is the author, co-author or editor of six volumes published with Oxford University Press, Columbia University Press, Routledge and Dartmouth, of over 30 peer-reviewed scholarly articles, and some 70 articles and reports published in English, Romanian and French. She participated in conferences organized in the United States, Canada, England, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Japan and Romania. Dr. Stan served as the Director of the Center for Post-Communist Studies at St. Francis Xavier University, chair of the Wildawsky Award Committee of the Religion and Politics section of the American Political Science Association, and Council member of the International Political Science Association.

Dr. Lucian Turcescu

Professor, Theology Department, Concordia University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

A theologian by training, Dr. Turcescu is the president of the Canadian Patristics Association, and former head of the Religious Studies Department at the St. Francis Xavier University. He is the author of three volumes, of which two were published with Oxford University Press, and of over 30 peer-reviewed articles. His main areas of interest are religion and politics, patristics, and ecumenism. He has lectured in Canada, the United States, France, Germany, and Japan, and has supervised a number of graduate dissertations.

Ref: I08P0178