For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
NL

Muslim Politics and Governance of Islam: Interactions of Structure and Culture in Multireligious Europe

Programme group Challenges to Democratic Representation

The societal backdrop for this project is the post-war influx of non-Western migrants to countries in Western Europe, and the increasing cultural heterogeneity that followed. Since the 1990s, and even more following 9/11, phenomena connected to immigration and integration have increasingly come to be framed as being about Islam or Muslims. Correspondingly, public policy geared towards immigrants or immigrant incorporation has in many countries become more concerned with religion or religious accommodation.

Financed by FAFO (Norway)

Duration: 2015-2018

The societal backdrop for this project is the post-war influx of non-Western migrants to countries in Western Europe, and the increasing cultural heterogeneity that followed. Since the 1990s, and even more following 9/11, phenomena connected to immigration and integration have increasingly come to be framed as being about Islam or Muslims. Correspondingly, public policy geared towards immigrants or immigrant incorporation has in many countries become more concerned with religion or religious accommodation.

Building on this area of increased public interest, this project focuses on the political and attitudinal integration of migrants of Muslim background into secular democracies in Europe. More specifically, it addresses the manner in which Muslim political thought in Europe is affected by societal structures, and, conversely, how the development of societal structures in Europe is affected by Muslim politics and/or Muslim activism.

Research topics

This project undertakes a historically oriented, multidisciplinary and comparative case study of three countries: France, England and Norway. In each country, the study focuses on the development of two fields. On the one hand: Muslim political thinking on the elite level, concerning how religious elites envision the integration of Islam and Muslims into secular democracies. On the other: the development of national models for governance of Islam and Muslims. The aim is to come to an understanding of the interaction between the two fields: How is Muslim political thought affected by different modes of national governance? Are the regimes for governance of Islam in these countries influenced by Muslim political action or Muslim initiatives in the civil sphere?

Relevance and aim

The aim in this project is to explore in detail the interaction of culture and structure that often has been absent in previous studies. The two proposed fields of study – the impact of governance of Islam on Muslim political thought, and the impact of Muslim action and initiatives on governance of Islam – influence one another, such that it is fruitful to study them in conjunction. The complexity of the field calls for an interdisciplinary approach, and the team of researchers therefore has a diverse academic background – ranging from sociology and political science to theology, philosophy and law.

Rather than looking into statistical correlations or the impact of specific variables, a method of comparative, historically oriented process tracing will be employed that aims to identify as many as possible causal links in a social process. To this aim, the following methods will be employed: qualitative interviewing of political and religious elites, analysis of historical documents and media content, and process tracing methods. In addition, the study will contain a non-empirical and normative/philosophical work package, in which the topics that arise in the empirical modules are assessed through ethical and normative theorizing.

dr. M.J.M. (Marcel) Maussen

Researcher