Interconnecting platform E: Differentiation and De-Differentiation (2013-2018)

One of the central and most controversial questions of the Cluster of Excellence is if and to which degree the differentiation of religion and politics into autonomous systems of social functions is a partially reversible development. In light of contemporary developments, theories of the functional differentiation of religion and politics have become the subject of serious critique. This raises the question of whether the observable tendencies running contrary to the separation of religion and politics can also be described in terms of differentiation theory or to what degree the term “dedifferentiation” is more appropriate.

The international debate suffers, on the one hand, from the fact that it does not always distinguish precisely between the different theories of differentiation and often works with a one-sided concept of this term. On the other hand, the theoretical analytical disciplines as well as the historical ones have as yet taken too little notice of one another so that the concept of differentiation has been subject to inadequate historical and empirical testing. With its specifically interdisciplinary nature, the Cluster of Excellence hopes to make a significant contribution to clarifying this debate.