- The governance of Islam in Europe. The perils of modelling
- Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 33 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Recently, we have seen a shift from research on the internal structure and culture of Muslim religiosity to research on the way in which societies create opportunities for the development of Islam, or oppose them, and more particularly to the political opportunity structure and the institutionalised regimes and policies of governing Islam in Europe from a neo-institutionalist perspective. This introduction to the special issue discusses the concepts and perspectives of the governance and government of religious diversity, critically analysing the inherent problems of constructing patterns or models of the relationship between (organised) religions, societies, politics, nations and polities/states. My analysis opts for fairly disaggregated frames for the purposes of rich descriptions of cases, synchronic comparisons and diachronic changes, which are a precondition for asking the relevant explanatory questions: Why what happened happened here and not there? Why now and not then? This framework is used to critically assess the debate on whether a European regime of religious governance in general, particularly with regard to Islam, is emerging, and to introduce the contributions in this special issue that analyse different aspects of governing Islam in Western Europe.
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