Call for papers

The International Study of Religion in Central and Eastern Europe Association (ISORECEA), the Czech Association for the Study of Religions (CASR), the Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University, Brno and the Department of Sociology, Masaryk University, Brno

call for conference papers:

“Twenty Years After: Secularization and Desecularization in Central and Eastern Europe”
(16 to 18 December 2010, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)

The collapse of communism and the radical social changes that Central and Eastern Europe societies have undergone in the last twenty years have been accompanied equally radical religious changes. In contrast to the communist period, religion in general entered the public space, and the revitalization of religion (at both the societal and the individual level) has become a widely discussed social topic. At the same time, although not uncontroversially, the majority of Central and Eastern European societies pursued the democratic norm of separation of Church and state and legislation safeguarding the rights of minority religions. Sociological research has also pointed out other not easily understandable trends, such as the individualization and privatization of religion, the growth of spirituality, and a religious decline in some of countries, etc. Both desecularization and the revitalization of religion and secularization are pointed to as important tendencies, playing apparently contradictory roles in the theoretical explanations for the current situation in a variety of scientific papers dealing with Central and Eastern European countries.

It is well known that, despite its popularity, the theory of secularization (also referred to as the secularization thesis) has become a target for much criticism over the past forty years. Notwithstanding the fact that for many scientists empirical data for at least Western European societies continue to fuel the secularization theory (even in its more sophisticated versions). For many others the theory is an ideological doctrine, or even a myth, or just a theory that distracts our attention from other important developments, such as “the spiritual revolution”, the capacity of religion to be effectively used by different actors and different reasons, the continuing public relevance of religion, and the relationship between religion and identity.

What can we say about religiosity in Central and Eastern European countries twenty years after the collapse of communism? Which, if either, of the concepts ‘secularization’ or ‘descularization’ is the more appropriate? The religious situation in this region can contribute to the old debate about the secularization thesis, and might even cast a new light on both empirical and theoretical discussions that could be relevant for the study of religions in these and other contemporary societies.

The Organizers of the Conference invite you to respond to these questions. You may also address your proposal to the topics listed below.

Suggested topics to which panels and papers may relate:

  1. The contemporary religious situation in Central and Eastern Europe and how it may be seen from the point of view of major theoretical approaches.
  2. Religiosity (and non-religiosity) from a comparative perspective.
  3. Religiosity versus spirituality. Individualization and privatization of religion in Central and Eastern Europe.
  4. Religion in the public sphere.
  5. Religion and regulation: Has religion become more private or more regulated?
  6. Religions and multiculturalism: Principles of coexistence of religions in one particular political and/or legal area.
  7. The academic study of religions in Central and Eastern European countries and its place in European research.
  8. Contacts between religions: Encounters, communication and mission.
  9. Reconsidering identities: Religious, ethnic, and political.

Proposals for papers (including 200 words abstracts) are to be submitted via the online registration form.

Proposals for organised panels are to be submitted to Dr David Vaclavik. We encourage participants to do so as soon as possible.

You will find the deadlines for the submission of abstracts and panels on the main page.

The conference language is English.

Each presentation/paper will be given 30 minutes, including discussion.

If you have questions concerning the academic programme or the general organisation of the conference, please contact Dr David Vaclavík.
If you have questions concerning the payment of conference fee, please contact Dr Aleš Chalupa. All the basic information concerning payment (conference fee, bank account, etc.) is available on the registration page.


On behalf of the conference organizing committee
Yours sincerely,

Dr David Václavík,
President of the Czech Association for the Study of Religions

Prof. Sinisia Zrinščak,
President of the International Study of Religion in Central and Eastern Europe Association