Call for papers: SISP Conference (Rome, 13-15 September 2012)

The SISP (Italian Political Science Society) standing group Religion and Politics organises three panels for the annual SISP conference (13 – 15 September 2012, University of Roma tre), info:

In order to be taken into consideration, proposals (that can be submitted either in English or in Italian) should include name, institutional affiliation and contacts of the proponent as well as a working title and a short abstract of up to 250 words.
Proposals must be sent to panel chairs by May 1st, 2012. A decision about which contributions to include in the panel will be made by May 28th, 2012 at the latest.


1.  Transnational Religious Actors
Chairs: Valter Coralluzzo
( e Luca Ozzano (
Section: Relazioni internazionali
Since the early 1970s, when Keohane and Nye’s early works on the theme were published, transnational actors are included in international relations theory and debates. However, the discipline has been slow to acknowledge even the existence of religious actors in transnational perspective. Only very recently, with Jeffrey Haynes and Giorgio Shani’s works, their features have been outlined. However, a comprehensive analysis of this phenomenon is still lacking. Yet, transnational religious actors have been for decades relevant players in international scenarios, and their influence is steadily growing. On the one hand, ancient and established religious organizations such as the Catholic Church are increasing their transnational activities and identity. Moreover, while transnational proselytizing activities have been running for decades throughout the world, a growing number of former domestic religious actors, as well as newly established groups, are increasingly active at the transnational level in fields such as welfare, media, education, and even business. Such activities are often facilitated by the presence in many countries of diaspora and converts communities supporting locally the activities of transnational networks. All these phenomena also have a growing impact on politics, at both the domestic and the international level. The panel welcomes theoretical papers on the subject, as well as comparative works and single-case studies, written in English and Italian.

2. The religious factor in contemporary political movements
Chairs: Alberta Giorgi ( e Emanuele Polizzi (
Section: Partecipazione e Movimenti Sociali
Contemporary political arenas show a growing presence of social movements as crucial political actors, either in connection with or in opposition to political parties – which suffer from a wide criticism and distrust, in Italy as well as abroad. Both the identity and the ideological roots of these movements show a high degree of internal diversity and variety. Specifically, religiously inspired movements appear to have an increasingly important role in political campaigns. This happened, for instance, in Arab Spring movements – which resulted in a wide consensus for Islamic political actors, but also in the Italian context, where religious associations have been involved in the ‘Public Water’ and ‘Anti-nuclear’ movements. More broadly, religion is an important element for political identity and organization. It appears to be the case in Italy, for instance, where a religiously inspired political area is gathering consensus after the end of Berlusconi hegemony, and local religious leaders and organizations have a high political weight and influence in local political arenas, such as in Lombardia and in Rome. It appears to be the case in several other countries, such as for US religious lobbies, Church-related movements in Spain and Portugal, and the issue about the recognition
of religions in nowadays Hungary.
The panel invites papers on the following topics:
– forms of political activism and participation of religious movements and organizations;
– relations between local government and religious actors in the field of civic engagement;
– relations between political and religious identity of local activists.
Comparative studies are welcome, as well as single-case studies and theoretical analyses. Researchers working in this field, including PhD students are invited to submit their research papers.

3. Religion and Elections
Chairs: Alberta Giorgi ( e Luca Ozzano (
Section: Elezioni e comportamento di voto
Although their real influence is hard to define, and easily changes according to contexts and periods, religion and religiosity are significant factors in the electoral processes of many democratic countries. Such influence can take place both at the institutional and at the value level. At the institutional level, we must first mention religiously oriented parties, which are allowed to participate in most democratic systems and sometimes manage to be win elections and form governments (as for example in the case of the Christian democratic parties in Western Europe, the AKP in Turkey, the BJP in India, etc.). Even non explicitly religiously oriented
parties can have strong religious wings, as in the case of the Republican party in the US. Moreover, they can be influenced by other religious actors, such as churches and other kind of confessional movements and groups, especially if they have many followers in the parties’ constituency. At the values level, religion can influence elections, and particularly campaigns, when parties try to court the religious constituency by proposing issues connected to some kind of religious values. Religious values can therefore contribute to orient the vote of particular segments of the population. In contemporary societies, the religious factor has been gaining importance in several contexts – as it is occurring in US Republican primaries, and in North Africa and Middle East, where, after the Arab spring, religiously oriented parties have been gaining electoral support.
The panel will explore these issues, through both theoretical and empirical papers. We invite both comparative and single-case studies, written in English or Italian. Paper proposals should be around 250 words. Researchers working in this field, including doctoral level students are invited to submit their research papers, possibly at an advanced stage of elaboration. Papers are expected to be relevant and pertinent to the workshops’ themes, and rigorously engaged with literature and methodology.