(A2-6) Religious Protagonists in Global Governance

More and more political scientific analyses have focused on religious actors in recent years. These discussed in particular the issue of the general relationship between national state politics and religion, challenging in an increasingly critical manner the assumption of a secularisation of politics and society as well as of a concurrent shifting of the religious into the private. Such processes of (de)secularisation take place against an economic, cultural and political globalisation backdrop. This, in turn, gives rise both to a need for international, political governance and to an emergence of new normative conflicts or a shifting of established conflicts onto the international level. In this connection, new opportunity structures of political influence open up both for religious non-state actors and for other civil societal players. For example, religious actors can exercise discoursive power in international negotiations as a ‘moral authority’, be it through agenda setting processes or through discoursive strategies of ‘framing’ public debates. Against this backdrop, the project investigates the discoursive power of political actors in the competition for power of interpretation in international politics.

The project analyses the conditions and results of the conflict of normative “truths” in selected fields of policy, particularly in international development and environmental policy, taking the role of transnational religious actors in supranational arenas, especially in international negotiations and UN world conferences, into consideration. In these global arenas, central questions such as the definition of development, the issue of global inequality or the climate problem are negotiated. At the same time, these questions touch on the basic normative principles of an international society as a community of values: what role do the specific characteristics of religious actors play in international negotiations and debates? Under which circumstances can religious actors transform their legitimacy as credible players into discoursive power? And how do external conditions such as institutional settings and political opportunity structures influence the successful exercise of discoursive power by religious actors and norms?

The Project is part of interconnecting platform E Differentiation and De-Differentiation and coordinated project group The liquefaction and solidification of normativity.