Religious freedom has become increasingly important across the global spectrum over the past decades but has remained a contested concept. This book fills the gap in the scholarship on religious freedom by focusing on sociological dimensions and research methods.
Chapters in this book present data and case studies from Italy, Russia, Iran, Israel, South Korea, and the United States, encompassing a broad geographical scope, and highlight three main issues. The first is the deep and persistent gap between normative and actual practices. The detailed analyses bring insights into how religious freedom is understood and implemented in various contexts and its meaning in everyday life. The second one is the complex interplay of various religious and secular actors in each society. Chapters focus on how it is essential to study how states define religious freedom and the impact of other actors, such as nongovernmental organisations, religious institutions, communities, leaders, and members of various religious/non-religious groups. The third is the role of rival ideologies and the impact of extraordinary social events, such as the COVID pandemic, which can considerably change how religious freedom is conceptualised and implemented.
The book will be a key resource for academics, researchers, and advanced students of Religion, Sociology, Comparative Studies, Research Methods and Social Sciences. The chapters included in this book were originally published as a special issue of Religion, State and Society.
Introduction— Religious freedom: thinking sociologically
Olga Breskaya, Giuseppe Giordan, and Siniša Zrinščak
1. New frontiers of religious freedom? LGBTQ rights versus religious conscience
James L. Guth
2. The power of “unintended”: Islamisation, freedom, and religiosity among the graduates of modern religious schools in post-revolutionary Iran
Fateme Eiaredar, Abdolmohammad Kazemipur, and Seyed Mahdi Etemadifard
3. Social construction of religious freedom: a comparative study among youth in Italy and Russia
Olga Breskaya, Giuseppe Giordan, and Sergey Trophimov
4. COVID-19, Shcincheonji, and the limits of South Korean secularism: The Devil in Patient 31
Kin Cheung and Minjung Noh
5. Mission not accomplished: the response of the State of Israel and NGOs to Christian missionary activity, 1966-1986
Shai Wineaple and Ruth Kark