New book: Hrvoje ŠPEHAR, ed. (2015) European Secular Identities

We live in a secular age, as pointed out by Charles Taylor. However, a secular age does not inherently signify a necessary break with beliefs, institutionalized religion, the existence of various points of view, communitarianism of all types, or an atheistic and agnostic view of the world. The secular age is, of course only a framework within which our interpretations of the world are increasingly reduced to questions of worldly events but remain plural, diverse, often irreconcilable and conflicting. The development of a political community, including the creation of a complex political system such as the European Union, necessarily raises questions concerning identity, its formation or change. In a secular age, if we accept Charles Taylor's thesis, it is worthwhile asking how secular identities are formed, what is their impact on the creation of political institutions or the legal system, and how can plurality be achieved in a secular age. For these reasons, it seems that the topics of the secular political system, secular institutions, secular movements and the like have bearing on the current state of the European Union and its future.

These proceedings present the results of research within the framework of the European project of the Jean Monnet module, Secular Europe: European Secular Identity, the first Jean Monnet module in the field of political science in Croatia. An integral part of the project, besides creating new lectures and seminars at the University of Zagreb (from which a new course at the Faculty of Political Science has been developed, Secular Europe: European Secular Identities), is the scientific project European Identity and Secularity, which features a multidisciplinary approach to European integration and various interpretations of the idea of secularity from the fields of political science, philosophy, law, sociology, history and others. Some of the papers resulting from the activities of the Jean Monnet module Secular Europe: European Secular Identity have already been published in other publications, particularly in the journal Političke analize [Political Analyses] (2013).

Within the framework of the Jean Monnet module Secular Europe: European Secular Identities, a scientific conference, The Secularization and Laicization of European Society and Politics (2013), numerous roundtable discussions and guest lectures were held. There were particularly noteworthy lectures or participation in scientific conferences and roundtables by Jean-Paul Willaime (Director of Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, Religious Studies Section, Sorbonne, Paris), Thierry Rambaud (Professor of Public Law, Université Paris Descartes), Miroljub Jevtić (Professor of the Political Science of Religion, editor of the journal Politics and Religion, University of Belgrade), Vanja-Ivan Savić (Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb) and Boris Havel (University of Zagreb). Besides researchers in this field, the module was also a meeting place for various representatives of religious, agnostic and atheistic organizations; and there were various debates and interviews in the media. Contributions to these proceedings took various approaches to the issues of secularity, secularism, European identity; the influence of religious communities, atheistic and agnostic organizations on the creation of the political system of the European Union; relations between the church and state; and the influence of the ideas of secularity and secular identity on regional, national and European policies.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Introduction

 

Hrvoje Špehar

European Secular Identity: Secularity in the Plural

 

Tomislav Sokol

The Competences of the European Union in Regulating the Relations of Member States toward Religious Communities

 

Boris Havel

Political Islam, Secularism and Democracy

 

Marko Veković

The Political Functions of Religion in the Non-Secular Countries of Europe

 

Damir Bulat and Hrvoje Špehar

Public Schools and Ethics in a Plural Society: A Synergistic or Communitarian Model?

 

Višeslav Raos

Istrianism between Secularism and Catholicism: Religion and Politics in Contemporary Istria
 

Vanja-Ivan Savić

Book Review: Leiter, Brian. Why Tolerate Religion?