The aim of the lecture is to present the main findings thus far of the EU FP7 research project RELIGARE – Religious Diversity and Secular Models in Europe: Innovative Approaches to Law and Policy. The project involves the participation of 13 teams of researchers and covers ten countries, including nine European Union Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain) alongside Turkey. It explores through concrete cases some major conflicts revolving around freedom of religion and secular state laws that have occurred in contemporary Europe in the past few years.
The approach is purposely interdisciplinary. Legal data are complemented with sociological data. The lecture will highlight some of the difficulties that come along with research relating to more than one branch of knowledge. This is the case in particular when addressing selected controversies that are deemed to be of great significance in the countries under scrutiny and that raise critical questions about a state’s particular approach to religious diversity.
Marie-Claire Foblets is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (Saale). Prior to that, she was professor at the Catholic University of Leuven heading the Institute for Migration Law and Legal Anthropology. Marie-Claire Foblets completed her doctoral thesis in Social and Cultural Anthropology alongside practicing law with a law firm specialized in matters affecting migration and minority issues. She studied Law, Philosophy as well as Social and Cultural Anthropology at universities in Belgium and Germany.