EXC 2060 B3-37 Religious Organizations in Welfare Policy against the Background of Immigration and Religious Pluralization in Western Europe

In Progress
Funding Source
DFG - Cluster of Excellence
Project Number
EXC 2060/1


  • Description

    Christian organizations have always been and continue to be central welfare state actors in many European countries. Yet in view of the social changes of recent years - in the form of migration, religious pluralization and the economization of western welfare states - the question arises to what extent the socio-political role of religious actors has changed. In Germany, for example, the two large churches are confronted with steadily declining membership numbers, whereas the demand for the social services of Caritas and Diakonie remains unbrokenly high. At the same time, Islamic organizations as well as profit-oriented providers become active in welfare.

    The aim of the project is to explore, by means of a comparative analysis, the extent to which the role of religious organizations in welfare policy has changed in the states of Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany and Austria - especially in the context of the immigration processes of recent years. The comparative research design is intended to explore commonalities and differences with regard to the socio-political role and self-perception of religious actors against the background of divergent institutional frameworks, such as the different state-church models and welfare state arrangements. For example, how does the socio-political role of religious actors in more secular systems (France) differ from that in a country with a state church (Denmark)? And what influence do liberal welfare states (Great Britain) have on the position of religious organizations in welfare compared to continental European welfare states (Germany, Austria)?


  • Persons

    Professor for "Religion und Politik"
    Humanities and theology
    Technische Universität Dortmund
    Emil-Figge-Straße 50
    44227 Dortmund
    Tel: +49 231 775-5209

    Research associate
    Martin-Schmeißer-Weg 3a
    44227 Dortmund, Germany

  • Dissertations


    Doctoral thesis

    Religious organizations as political actors during the asylum crisis in Germany, France and Great Britain



    Since the 1980s, religious organizations have become increasingly important in the welfare policy of (Western) Europe. However, some of these religious welfare organizations do not only act as providers of social services, but also as political actors - aim to represent the interests of socially disadvantaged people. Lately, this has been evident during the so-called asylum crisis in Germany as both Caritas and Diakonie voiced clear criticism about the restrictive asylum laws passed by the German federal government.

    The aim of this dissertation project is to analyze the social and asylum policy role of religious organizations in Germany, France and Great Britain during the asylum crisis in 2015 and 2016. By means of qualitative content analyses and interviews, the positioning of individual religious organizations in the course of the asylum crisis will be gathered and compared with each other. This procedure makes it possible to identify (country-specific) differences between, but also within religions: For example, do Caritas and secours catholique both point to Christian values in their critique of European asylum policy equally? And to what extent do the positions of Christian organizations differ from those with an Islamic background?

    In a subsequent step, the influence of the organization’s political activity by means of national and institutional contextual factors – for example, the different relationships between state and religion or the welfare state traditions – will be addressed.