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Grace Davie - Critical Thinkers in Religion, Law and Social Theory

Thu, March 07, 2013

Grace Davie

University of Ottawa, Simard 125
4:00 - 6:30pm

Title: A European Perspective on Religion and Welfare:  Connections, Reflections and Extensions

Abstract: This presentation draws on a recently completed project on religion and welfare in eight European societies (Sweden, Finland, Norway, England,Germany, France, Italy and Greece). It starts by setting out the ideas of two key theorists:  Gøsta Esping-Andersen and David Martin.  Esping-Andersen’s work provides a touchstone for the understanding of welfare regimes; Martin’s work is equally well-known in the sociology of religion.  Seldom, however, are the two perspectives brought together. A combination of the two approaches permits a cogent comparative perspective.  All West European societies are faced with the same dilemmas regarding the provision of welfare and all of them, to a greater or lesser extent, are considering alternatives to the state for the effective delivery of services.  These alternatives include the churches.  Each society, however, has to face these questions within the parameters set by the past:  what is, or is not, possible varies from place to place.  It is well-known that the institutional separations of welfare and religion across Europe were dependent on key historical factors; it is less frequently realized that the same is true in terms of the options currently available.  Such a statement has crucial implications for policy, a point that will be illustrated from the case studies covered in the project.

Bio: Grace Davie is professor of sociology at the University of Exeter. Her research interests lie in the sociology of religion, with a particular emphasis on patterns of religion in Europe. She is also interested in the new theoretical paradigms that are emerging in the field – not least the notion of ‘multiple modernities’. How are we to make sense of the growing significance of religion in the modern world with tools and concepts that have emerged (largely) from the 'exceptional' European case? Her publications include Religion in Modern Europe: A Memory Mutates (Oxford University Press, 2000); The Sociology of Religion (Sage, 2007); she is co-author of Religious America, Secular Europe: A Theme and Variations (Ashgate 2008). She has also been co-director of several research projects including “Welfare and Religion in a European Perspective, 2006-06” and “Welfare and Values in European Societies, 2006-09”.

Please click here to access Grace Davie's presentation.

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