Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2013 Volume 9 :: Article 7
2013 Volume 9, Article 7
The Ambiguous Roles of Religion: The European Integration Project as a Multilevel Case

Author: Florian Grötsch (Bergische Universität Wuppertal) and Annette Schnabel (Bergische Universität Wuppertal)

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First, we retrace, on the basis of an analysis of European Union documents, how religion became a means for integration on the level of EU policies and debates. Second, we analyze, on the basis of the European Value Survey, how religion and xenophobic attitudes relate to a sense of Europeanness among European citizens. We argue that religion gained relevance for the European Commission and in public debates as a marker to distinguish "us" from "them." On the individual level, we found that denomination does not play an important role in defining Europeanness when we controlled for church attendance and intensity of belief. Xenophobic attitudes do not contribute to the cohesion of a European "we." Instead, they decrease Europeanness. We show that although religion is important on both levels, it refers to different concepts and displays different dynamics when observed as part of integration policies and when observed in relation to individual attitudes.

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