Religion and national identity on trial: the impact of the ECtHR on religious freedom at the grassroots level

9-10 June, 2017

Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen

Effie Fokas, Grassrootsmobilise Principal Investigator, was recently invited to the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Institute of Advanced Study at Göttingen University, to participate in the workshop ‘Religious freedom and the varieties of religious establishment – National identities, public morals and cultural values’, held on the 9th and 10th of June.

The workshop was organized by the research group ‘Human Rights, Constitutional Politics and Religious Diversity’ at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, and brought together scholars from various disciplines with distinctive regional expertise in order to jointly examine questions of religious freedom and its relationship with claims about issues of national identity, public morals or shared cultural values.

The workshop focused, in particular, on three inter-related questions:

  1. a) What is the role of religion in constituting national identity, public morals or cultural values across diverse polities?
  2. b) How do references to national identity or cultural-moral traditions constrain religious freedom and other fundamental rights?
  3. c) How do references to national identity or cultural-moral traditions affect aspirations of minority religious groups for accommodation and public recognition?

Effie Fokas’ presentation ‘Religion and national identity on trial: the impact of the ECtHR on religious freedom at the grassroots level’ was based on recent research from the Grassrootsmobilise project.

The programme is available here.

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The Kokkinakis Papers

27 May, 2017

Central European University, Budapest

On 27 May 2017 the international conference ‘The Kokkinakis Papers: Taking Stock of 25 years of ECHR Jurisprudence on Freedom of Religion or Belief‘, convened by Cole W. Durham, Malcolm Evans, Jeroen Temperman and Jeremy T. Gunn, took place at the Central European University in Budapest. This conference brought together the authors of a volume planned for the 25th anniversary of the Kokkinakis v. Greece judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. The aim of the conference and the planned volume is to explore the depths and developments of ECtHR jurisprudence, as well as the broader context and implications of this case law from a wide range of perspectives.

Effie Fokas presented her Grassrootsmobilise-based research on ‘Kokkinakis at the Grassroots Level’, considering the extent to which grassroots level actors know about the case of Kokkinakis and see in it an opportunity to further their own religion-related rights claims, the extent to which the case inspired social actors such as rights activists, cause lawyers or faith group members, to mobilise for their own religion-related rights, whether in court, in the halls of government, or in the streets, and whether Kokkinakis left a mark on the individual citizen with concerns to do with religious freedoms.


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Presentation on the Dynamics of State-Religion Relations and Citizen Mobilization in Present-day Romania

9 May, 2017

Institute for East European Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Postdoctoral researcher Mihai Popa recently presented aspects of his research at the Freie Universität Berlin’s Institute for East European Studies, in a presentation entitled ‘Towards a Pro-Family Constitution: Dynamics of State-Religion Relations and Citizen Mobilization in Present-day Romania’.

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Grassrootsmobilise Presentations on Religious Minorities and the ECtHR at ASN World Convention

4 May, 2017

ASN World Convention, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, New York

Margarita Markoviti and Ceren Ozgul recently presented aspects of their research relating to religious minorities and the ECtHR at the Annual World Convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) which took place from 4-6 May 2017 at the International Affairs Building, Harriman Institute, Columbia University in New York. They participated in a panel on ‘Religious Minorities in the Post-Ottoman Space’ in the section on ‘Turkey, Greece & Cyprus’, with presentations on ‘The ECtHR as a venue for Greco-Turkish relations: The Treaty of Lausanne and the Muslim Minority in Western Thrace’ and ‘Religious Minorities without Legal Status: The Lausanne Treaty and the Right to Property Cases against Turkey in the ECtHR’ respectively.

Further information is available here.

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The political impact of the European Court of Human Rights – religious movements’ grassroots mobilizations

12 April, 2017

Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology (CIES), University Institute of Lisbon

Researcher Alberta Giorgi was recently invited to present her research on ‘The political impact of the European Court of Human Rights – religious movements’ grassroots mobilizations’ at the Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology of the University Institute of Lisbon. The presentation received much interest and was followed by a highly contructive discussion.


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Presentation on ‘The Limits of Religious Diversity in the Public Sphere’

14 March, 2017

Department of Sociology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

On Tuesday 14th March Margarita Markoviti, postdoctoral researcher for the Greek case study, was hosted by the Department of Sociology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, as part of their ISOR seminar series on ‘Research in Sociology of Religion’. Dr. Markoviti presented her recent research on ‘The Limits of Religious Diversity in the Public Sphere: Freedom of Religious Expression and Worship in the city of Athens’. She discussed her study of the freedom of religious expression and worship in a context of increasing religious pluralism, focusing on the Greek capital of Athens as an indicative case of a city in which the rising waves of immigration have, since the late 1990s and even more recently, challenged both the “prevailing” position of the Orthodox Church in the country and longstanding perceptions of the meaning and use of “public spaces”.

Further information is available here.

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Research Seminar on Religious Pluralism and Education in Greece

21 February, 2017

Hellenic Observatory, London School of Economics (LSE), London

On Tuesday, 21st February Principal Investigator Dr. Effie Fokas and the postdoctoral researcher for the Greek case study, Dr. Margarita Markoviti were hosted by the LSE’s Hellenic Observatory. Dr. Fokas presented the Grassrootsmobilise programme as a whole, while Dr. Markoviti discussed her research on religious pluralism and education in Greece, exploring the “radiating effects” of the European Court of Human Rights in a context of prevailing religion and increasing religious pluralism. The presentations were followed by a lively Q&A session and much discussion.

The seminar details and podcast are available here.

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8th Grassrootsmobilise Meeting on the National Courts Study and Single ECtHR Case Study

10-11 February, 2017

Athens, Greece

The Grassrootsmobilise team’s 8th Research Meeting was held in Athens on the 10th and 11th February, 2017. The main aim of the meeting was to discuss the postdoctoral researchers’ recent reports on references to the ECtHR’s religion-related case law in national high courts, as well as their work exploring mobilisations before and after particular ECtHR cases against the respective countries (Vallianatos v. GreeceCosta and Pavan v. ItalySindicatul “Păstorul cel Bun” v. Romania, and Ercep v . Turkey). They were joined in Athens by Advisory Board Member Professor Lucy Vickers, who offered constructive feedback on these aspects of the research, and received further feedback in writing from Advisory Board Member Professor Matthias Koenig on the single ECtHR case studies. During the meeting the team also discussed their plans for publications arising from this research, as well as publications based on the research related to the legal status of religious minorities.


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D come Donne, D come Dio (D for Women, D for God)

Eds. Alberta Giorgi and Stefania Palmisano, (2016) Milan: Mimesis

The interest in the theme „Women, Religion, Gender Relations” has gained particular resonance since the mid-90s in Europe and, more recently, even in Italy, developing beyond the disciplinary boundaries of sociology of religion and of gender studies. Three factors have contributed, in particular, to the re-emergence of this interest in the academy and its resonance in the public sphere: migration and the pluralisation of the religious field; the increasing role of controversies around religion-related issues and involving women’s bodies; and the complex negotiation of boundaries between the private and the public sphere. What is the role of women in religion? What are the forms of – and the interconnections between – religious and female agency? What is the role of religion in the public sphere? How religious rights and female rights are discussed in the political debate? What is the impact of the transformations of religion upon the individual religious experiences?

Available here [in Italian]:

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Religion and local politics in Southern Europe: a research agenda

Alberta Giorgi and Xabier Itçaina

Religion, State and Society, 2016, Vol. 44, No. 3, 276-295

This article brings to a conclusion the series of three special sections published in 2015 and 2016 by Religion, State and Society on ‘Religion and local politics in southern Europe’. We set up a research agenda on the interactions between religion and local politics in Southern Europe. In doing so, we focus on the localisation of religion, including religious debates, and on the impact of the recent economic crisis. More specifically, we address the local as a contested concept, the multilevel governance of religion as a scalar opportunity structure – in relation to the transnational dimension of religious actors – the effects of such changes in the welfare landscape and the impact of the economic crisis on the activities and strategies of religious actors in Southern Europe. Our research agenda focuses on the interactions between two main dimensions: the territorial impact of political and economic changes, and the multiscalar schemes of territorial governance.

Available here:

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