Institutional continuity, change, and conflict

Based on a broad definition of institutions as “systems of established and prevalent social rules that structure social interactions” (Hodgson), research under this theme asks how institutions develop over time, how they change or resist change, and what conflicts result from such development. Institutions provide particular organizational settings for social interactions, both in a concrete and spatially confined sense (ex. the prison, the school, the workplace, churches) as well as in a broad legal and discursive sense (ex. the human rights regime institutionalized through international courts and commissions) (see the related subtheme Discursive institutions and agency in global governance). Institutions also work as socializing agents. They have the power to shape the behavior and judgments/worldviews of individuals through their own particular institutional cultures and long established patterns of action, and they represent sites of governance, where rules of interaction are being created and practiced. At present, the research activities conducted under the theme Institutional Continuity, Change and Conflict focus on the question how institutions respond to diversity, in particular to religious diversity. Institutions both in the concrete and in the broad sense are challenged by the accommodation of growing religious diversity. Often, it is at the institutional level that the governance of religion takes place, whether by formal regulations or in an uncoordinated manner, as people in these institutions are faced with the need to find practical solutions to manage the everyday consequences of increased religious diversification. An institution like the international human rights regime, in turn, is challenged by religious actors who question the genesis and evolution of liberal human rights. Exemplary publications include:

Astrid Mattes, Julia Mourao Permoser, Kristina Stoeckl (guest editors) (2016), Institutional Responses to Religious Pluralism, special issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society  (2). (open access)

Kristina Stoeckl (2016), The Russian Orthodox Church as Moral Norm Entrepreneur, Religion, State and Society 44(2), pp. 132-151. (open access)