From Religious Diversity to Religious Pluralism, an international conference in Padua, Italy

Call for Papers

Theme: From Religious Diversity to Religious Pluralism: What is at Stake?
Type: International Conference
Department of Sociology, University of Padua
Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion
Location: Padua (Italy)
Date: 15.–16.February.2012
Deadline: 20.November.2011

The social and religious panorama of the contemporary world is changing, due to the growing pressure of migration, cultural diversity, and religious diversity in particular. The presence of cultures and traditions different from those historically present in the various nations triggers processes of relating and comparing many aspects of daily social life, from politics to education, from economics to healthcare, from legal institutions to media, as well as the relations between generations and genres. The aim of the conference is to highlight how the factual situation of cultural and religious diversity may lead to individual, social and political choices of organized and recognized pluralism. It is a process that leads to redefine both the individual and collective identities, incessantly moving along the continuum that ranges from exclusion to inclusion. If on one side liberal democracies acknowledge the right of freedom of religion, on the other side the policies ensuring social cohesion must continually negotiate the competition between the shared social values and the specific ones of the different religions. Starting from the different levels of legitimacy granted to religions other than one’s own, the connections between religion and politics are redefined as well as are the connections among the various religions and between the believers and their own religions. Such an unprecedented situation requires new tools both at conceptual and methodological level in order to be described and interpreted properly. The transition from religious diversity to religious pluralism is one of the most important challenges that will reshape the role of religion in contemporary society.

You are invited to submit your papers investigating the various issues that, from the most diverse and unexpected points of view, are linked to the theme of religious diversity and pluralism.

Please submit a 250 word abstract of your presentation to Giuseppe Giordan ( by November 20, 2011.

Since the conference will take place on the days leading up to the weekend of the Venice Carnival, if you arrive in Padua via Venice airport, we encourage you to reserve your air ticket as soon as possible. For this reason the notification of acceptance of your papers will be communicated to you within two or three days after sending your abstracts.


  • Enzo Pace (University of Padua)
  • Giuseppe Giordan (University of Padua)

Plenary Speakers

  • Jim Beckford (University of Warwick, UK), Re-thinking Religious Pluralism
  • Gary Bouma (Monash University, Australia), Religious Diversity and Social Policy: The Dilemmas of Multi-faith Liberal Democracies
  • Pauline Côté (University of Laval, Canada), Religious Diversity and Public Policy. Who is Pluralist?
  • Roberto Motta (Recife University, Brazil), Brazilian Religions Old and New: Secularization and Enchantment
  • Yoshihide Sakurai (Hokkaido University, Japan), Missionary Trans-border Religions and Defensive Civil Society: A Japanese Perspective to the Possibility of Religious Pluralism in Recent Japan
  • Jim Spickard (University of Redlands, USA), Diversity vs Pluralism? Notes from the American Experience
  • Jörg Stolz (University of Lausanne, Switzerland), The National Congregations Study Switzerland: Mapping and Assessing the Religious Diversity of a Whole Country
  • William H. Swatos, Jr. (Augustana College, USA), Between Free Exercise and No Establishment: The Dialectic of American Religious Pluralism
  • Dedong Wei (Renmin University, China), Pluralism under Authoritarian Rule: The Structure of Church and State in China
  • Jean-Paul Willaime (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne, France), Religious and Philosophical Diversity as a Challenge for the Secularism: A Belgian-French Comparison
  • Linda Woodhead (Lancaster University, UK), Spirituality and the Institutionalisation of Religious Pluralism
  • Fenggang Yang (Purdue University, USA), Oligopoly Is Not Pluralism
  • SiniÅ¡a Zrinščak (University of Zagreb, Croatia), Pluralism and Diversity: Some Reflections from Post-communist Experience


Giuseppe Giordan