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Party Politics and Religion in the European Union- Research Project 2016-2019

Research Project PPR-EU Supported by the University of Luxembourg (internal project) 2016-2019


Dr. Philippe Poirier, enseignant-chercheur en sciences politiques, head of EuGov

Dr. Konstantinos Papastathis, chercheur en sciences politiques

The proposed interdisciplinary research elaborates on the impact of the ‘cultural factor’ in European politics. In particular, it explores the channels via which religion, both as an ‘institution’ and a ‘social’ actor, contributes to the articulation of the European party groups’ political discourse.

The research is divided in a theoretical and an empirical part. The theoretical part aims at identifying the representation of religious themes (e.g. plurality) as an element within the ideological structure of the main party families from 1989 onwards. Moreover, the project focuses on the influence of the traditional ethical system on policy making. The method of elaborating the material, derived primarily from Manifesto Project Database, builds on the Essex School pattern of discourse analysis. The empirical approach explores the potential correlation between religious commitment and partisan alignment within the EU. It also attempts to identify whether the diverse religious background plays a role in the social legitimization of policies related to issues of high symbolic significance.

The expected output of the project is a series of papers to be presented in conferences and submitted in peer reviewed journals. The central themes of the papers are: a) the religiosity effect on party politics and voting behaviour; and b) the role of religion in public policy at the European level.

Dissemination activities will involve the organization of a number of seminars as well as of a workshop. The research output is considered of particular interest both for Luxembourg, whose role in the European governance is central, as well as for the EU as a whole. Taking into account the electoral growth of euroscepticism, the proposed research on the ‘cultural frame’ of European politics is essential for understanding the dynamics of party competition.

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