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Subjects and objects of religion in a global world

Le fait religieux : sujets et objets dans un monde globalisé

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Published on Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Depuis la fin des années 1980, nous assistons à l’émergence d’un mouvement permanent de globalisation des biens du salut, se construisant principalement sur leur « déculturation », ainsi qu’à l’apparition concomitante de nouvelles formes de religiosité affectant aussi bien les trois monothéismes que d’autres systèmes de croyances et dont les néo-fondamentalismes constituent l'une probablement des expressions les plus spectaculaires et les plus commentées. Ce numéro du Journal des anthropologues se donne pour objectif de comprendre comment les acteurs associent aujourd’hui leurs propres choix religieux et les normes démocratiques, dans des contextes (nationaux notamment) où prévalent une conception de la laïcité qui confine parfois à l’essentialisme. Il vise également à faire le point des connaissances sur la façon dont se fabrique aujourd’hui la « radicalisation » des fidèles, femmes et hommes.



Since the late 1980’s, many forms of "religiosity" have been expressed in the public space, in contrast with old recurring debates focusing on the relationships between religion and politics (state, institutions), between religion and society or between religion and its own religious contents. These new forms of religiosity do not only concern the three monotheist religions but all other systems of faith. Paradoxically, in some cases, the increasing secularization of politics and societies was accompanied by a significant presence of men and especially women in communities of faith, freed from traditional forms of religious authority, Politics and religion no longer coexist anywhere and get separated.
Furthermore, we observe a permanent globalization movement of salvation products built on their deculturalization. It does not concern only those belonging to the afterlife world but also to the actual world: body and spirit discipline, techniques of spiritualities for a globalized market, moralization of behaviors and practices, promises of rebirth and rediscovery of meaning, links with the ecological apocalypse and salvation, new forms of pilgrimages and "religious" meetings, travels of gurus and televangelists, halal, kosher and healthy food market…
The conjunction of these two phenomena gives rise to new forms of religiosity. Neo-fundamentalisms would be their most frequent and coherent expressions, but not the only ones.
Most of the time, these forms of religiosity present in all contemporary societies have been analyzed either in terms of displacement of socio-economic and political problems connected to the crisis (of the State, of national institutions, of economy) towards a religious expression of the actors, or in terms of construction of their identity by the actors themselves, because they give them meaning and even dignity and emancipation (especially to women) in a context of globalization, failing states and crisis. This second type of interpretations had to fight against a culturalist and communitarian prejudice, conveyed by social sciences because of their relation to the particular history of the construction of Nation States, republics and their links with the ideology of “secularity”.
The actors, their religiosity and the ideology of “secularity”

Main themes

How can we get rid of the cultural bias affecting social sciences, political decisions and the media and free the actors from their interiorized self-fulfilling prophecy? We will choose contributions where the actors are analyzed through the link between their religious choices and the democratic standard:
- the actors, their capacity of reflexivity disconnected from a spontaneous link with a transmitted religious culture; their trajectories, their way of living their faith, of rediscovering it, of expanding it and of appropriating it or, on the contrary, of separating from it; the ways of rationalization they defend and their ways to escape a possible ghetto should be linked with
- the revisited relations between the freedom of religious beliefs and the norm of a “democratic” expression of the citizens.
In some societies, a conception of secularity that encloses religion in the private sphere ignores the new logical choices of religiosities, and plays a great part in the development of a phobic and exclusive line, which loses sight of the complexity of believers’ choices, attitudes and practices today.
Men’s and women’s “radicalization” here and elsewhere?
Since the middle of the 1980’s, and sometimes even earlier, researchers (sociologists, anthropologists and political scientists) have been engaged with such topics as "suburbs", new religious affiliations, unemployment, the rise of extreme right groups and fronts, urban policies and municipal institutions... and the links between these topics.
- From1985 to 2015, what is recurrent? And what is new? Where are researches realized from? Only from "the West" which considers September 11th 2001 as a rupture or from everywhere else as well?
Following the United States, Europe gave a great importance to the understanding and the analysis of the dramatic change from a Muslim religiosity, considered as literal and community based (Tablighis, Salafists), towards a radical, offensive and global affiliation, justifying the spectacular actions of a handful of Jihadists to the detriment of European Muslim populations. This turnaround led to security policies reinforcing the existential security of the citizens which were applied in a fully amnesic way, taking no interest in events and analyses of similar facts which had already affected all the central or peripheral Muslim majorities societies.
- What links can be established between teenagers born in European societies, probably in search of socialization and meaning, having experienced delinquent transgression or prison and their current attraction to so-called radical groups, different from those of the previous phase, as they are now embodied in the order of a pseudo "Islamic" State established on a territory, exploiting resources, building ministries, an army, laws, ruling indigenous populations who were involved in the conflicts that had bloodstained the middle east societies from the mid of 1970’s?
- Where and how does the "radicalization" of actors (mosques, charismatic mediators, prisons, web, networks) occur? How to analyze trajectories of European jihadists, coming back from Daech? What about monitoring devices and reintegration programs? What does the comparative of analyses of different jihadists coming from Western or Eastern Europe, from Middle-East or Asia bring in terms of social, professional belongings and of religious offer?
- What place should we give to women radical vocations, those of Salafist, Ultra-orthodox Jewish, fundamentalist Hindu or, among others, Evangelist women?

Submission guidelines

Contributions related to the different points suggested in this call are expected. They should deal with current religiosities and allow for Islam to be taken out of its reifying exclusiveness so as to feed an anthropological perspective on the present global world. A world where religious identity has become a capitalist good, among other ones; a good that can be picked up in digital supermarkets of ideal products, and easily replaced as often as it is considered worn-out, subjectively helpless or objectively inoperative.

Abstracts (between 1000 and 1500 words) should be sent by mail

before September 1st 2015,

(with a copy to the Journal des anthropologues editorial staff: to the following coordinators  :

  • Benveniste Annie :
  • Lacascade Yves :
  • Khouri Nicole :
  • Selim Monique :

The full articles, if accepted, (40 000 typed characters including spaces) are awaited before February 1st 2016.

The selection process will be made by a pair of lecturers (a member of the editorial board and an external researcher), chosen randomly according to the subject of the papers.


  • Tuesday, September 01, 2015


  • déculturation, fondamentalismes, globalisation, jihadistes, laïcité, radicalisation, religiosités


  • Annie Benveniste
    courriel : annie [dot] benveniste [at] orange [dot] fr
  • Monique Selim
    courriel : Monique [dot] Selim [at] ird [dot] fr
  • Nicole Khouri
    courriel : khouri [dot] n [at] wanadoo [dot] fr

Information source

  • Yves Lacascade
    courriel : y [dot] lacascade [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

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« Subjects and objects of religion in a global world », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, March 31, 2015,

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