On Monday, 20. November 2023, the German Research Team presented a paper about the state of the project at the American Academy of Religion Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
The paper titled “Religion and State in Times of Crisis. Religious Organizations and their Claim for Significance in Secularized Societies during the Covid-19 Pandemic” by Dr. Hannah Grünenthal and Prof. Dr. Kerstin Radde-Antweiler (both University Bremen, Germany) was held in the Sociology of Religion Unit “Numbers and Narratives: Quantitative Studies of Religion across Diverse Populations, Purposes, and Global Contexts”.
The relationship between religion and the state has come to the fore during the pandemic also in secularized countries, mainly due to the impact lockdown restrictions have had on public religious gatherings, but also due to the role religious organizations played in advocating or undermining state restrictions and vaccination. The role of religion in societies in crisis gives insights into the processes of secularization. As part of the Trans-Atlantic Platform-funded project ‘The Changing Role of Religion in Societies Emerging from COVID-19’, we have analyzed documents produced by multiple religious organizations in Germany (Roman Catholic Church, Evangelical Church of Germany, Muslim communities, and Anthroposophical Society) as well as secular journalistic press media between March 2020 and March 2023. The documents were analyzed with a mixed-methods approach (qualitative content analysis and text mining). In this paper, we answer the question, how do religious organizations perceive their role in society and how are they perceived by the public? How do they engage with individuals, public actors, and the state? Do processes of secularization change in times of crisis?
It focused on the topic of religion in secular societies in times of crisis, as well as on the implementation of a mixed-method approach to a comparative research project.