Call for papers: “The Religionization of Israeli Society” (2019 ECPR General Conference)

Call for papers: The Religionization of Israeli Society

Proposals are invited for a panel titled “The Religionization of Israeli Society” to be included in the section “Religion and Politics in a Secular Age: Pattern, Dynamics and Consequences” at the ECPR General Conference in Wroclaw, September 4-7, 2019.

Panel Abstract

De-secularization of the public sphere is a well-known and widely commented upon phenomenon in much of the world. José Casanova has famously argued that in the 1980s “religion, leaving its assigned place in the private sphere, had thrust itself into the public arena of moral and political contestation.” Students of this phenomenon have explained the resurgence of public religion largely in terms of the failure of secular ideologies, such as nationalism, liberalism, socialism, etc., to provide normative and emotive foundations for collective action and the failure of scientific approaches such as rationalism, positivism, methodological individualism, etc., to provide a meaningful understanding of reality. Some have even questioned the validity of the “secularization thesis” itself: the very concept of secularization and/or its presumed close ties with modernity and the Enlightenment.

Israeli Judaism has never been privatized in the same way as Protestant Christianity, if for no other reason than because of the intertwining of religion, ethnicity, peoplehood and nationalism in the ideational body known as “Judaism.” The interconnection of all these meanings is manifested, inter alia, in Israel’s constitutional definition as a Jewish state, re-emphasized recently with the enactment of Basic Law: Israel – the Nation State of the Jewish People. Still, up to a certain point mainstream Zionism had sought to secularize the values and symbols of traditional Judaism as much as possible and emphasize the national meaning of the term “Judaism” over its religious meaning. However, limited as the secularization of public life in Israel had been, it could be argued that a process of religionization, or de-secularization, had set in in 1967 and after possibly a brief interlude in the 1990s has gained much force and momentum since 2000.

The panel will seek to explore processes of religionization, and secularization, in various spheres of Israeli society and account for the success, or failure, of Religious Zionism to establish itself as the culturally hegemonic group in the society. We particularly welcome comparative papers that address the specificity of Israeli religionization processes, in terms of their causes and manifestations, in relation to similar processes elsewhere.

Please send a paper title, an abstract of no more than 500 words, and 5-8 key words by February 10 to Prof. Yoav Peled,

Leave a Reply