Religion in Public Spaces : A European Perspective book cover
1st Edition

Religion in Public Spaces
A European Perspective

ISBN 9781409450580
Published September 19, 2012 by Routledge
408 Pages

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Book Description

This timely volume discusses the much debated and controversial subject of the presence of religion in the public sphere. The book is divided in three sections. In the first the public/private distinction is studied mainly from a theoretical point of view, through the contributions of lawyers, philosophers and sociologists. In the following sections their proposals are tested through the analysis of two case studies, religious dress codes and places of worship. These sections include discussions on some of the most controversial recent cases from around Europe with contributions from some of the leading experts in the area of law and religion. Covering a range of very different European countries including Turkey, the UK, Italy and Bulgaria, the book uses comparative case studies to illustrate how practice varies significantly even within Europe. It reveals how familiarization with religious and philosophical diversity in Europe should lead to the modification of legal frameworks historically designed to accommodate majority religions. This in turn should give rise to recognition of new groups and communities and eventually, a more adequate response to the plurality of religions and beliefs in European society.



Silvio Ferrari is Professor of Canon Law, University of Milan and President, International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, Italy. His research interests are in the areas of Church and State in Europe; Comparative law of religions, and Vatican-Israel relations. He has published widely on these and related areas. Sabrina Pastorelli is research fellow at the Institute of International Law - section of Ecclesiastical and Canon Law - University of Milan, Faculty of Law. She is also a member of the Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (GSRL-CNRS/École Pratique des Hautes Études-Sorbonne) and teaching assistant at the Catholic University of Paris - Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences. Her research interests include sociology of religion; new religious movements; law and religion in Europe; religious education; regulation of religious pluralism; state public policy and religion. She is a member of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (ISSR); the Association for Sociology of Religion (ASR); the Italian Sociological Association (AIS).


’...the variety of contributions is not at the expense of the thematic, conceptual, and methodological cohesion of the book. On the contrary, there is a remarkable unity and consistency and a systematic analysis of issues concerning religious freedom, pluralism, and the law in Europe.’ Journal of Contemporary Religion ’This book provides crucial and relevant insights regarding many of the complex aspects of the relationships between religion and public spaces. It illustrates how concepts that are taken for granted in a specific national context can also migrate and affect the development of case law and legislation in other countries. It is to be welcomed as a new and relevant work in the field.’ Religion and Human Rights ’This book offers more than its title promises. It is not only about Europe or about religion. Insightful, suggestive and as diverse as its contributors, it contains a persuasive reflection on the need to rethink the very notion of public space that Western democracies have used since the nineteenth century.’ Javier Martinez-Torron, Complutense University School of Law, Spain 'This is a highly important book in a remarkable controversy. Silvio Ferrari and Sabrina Pastorelli present a rich volume full of information, thought, and insight - presenting masterpieces of interdisciplinary research and political guidance. The book is a most valuable contribution to freedom and equality throughout Europe.’ Gerhard Robbers, University of Trier, Germany 'Religion in Public Spaces will prove useful to researchers interested in the legal and political issues raised by the public dimension of religion. It could also be used as a supplemental text in advanced undergraduate or graduate seminars on religion and law or religion and politics...' Law & Politics Book Review