Warsaw conference – call for papers

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ISORECEA in cooperation with
the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences
and the Faculty of Sociology of Warsaw University

15th ISORECEA conference

Drifting apart or Consolidating?
Religious and Secular Organizations in Political Constellations
Warsaw, Poland, April 28–30, 2022

In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as elsewhere, the religious and the secular have long been intertwined. Churches, denominations and other religious and spiritual organizational units, as well as state institutions, NGOs and social movements designed as secular, have formed complex relationships. Furthermore, such constellations have been constantly changing in response to both global and local trends in the wider society.

One of the most vividly debated developments nowadays is the rise of ‘illiberal populism’. There are academics worried about what they call ‘the great regression’ of democracy or ‘de-Europeanization’. Some others describe the ‘illiberal populism’ in more neutral terms, as an anti-neoliberal reaction to the economic crisis of 2008 that downgrades the power of symbolic and economic elites and enables a wide manifestation of alternative formulations. Today’s struggles over democracy and its interpretation involve religion, religious organizations and various ways of conceptualizing the social, as exemplified by the antagonistic relationship between promoters of the concept of ‘gender ideology’ and their opponents who employ the notions of religious extremism and fundamentalism in their critique. The COVID-19 pandemic has further amplified some such tendencies, and created a space where new constellations could emerge.

This conference aims at shedding light on the role of religion in recent political, economic and social processes; it encourages a perception of the situation as dynamic; and asks about the reasons for and consequences of the changing constellations of religious and secular actors. What is the relationship between religion and populist tendencies? Do religious and secular organizations drift apart as a consequence of today’s political struggles, or are there new points of consolidation and convergence emerging between them? How are religious and secular organizations involved in renewing old lines of conflict and creating new ones? Or, to what extent, are they engaged in minimizing political and social tensions? How do the changing organizational landscapes, public debates, concerns over democracy and ‘culture wars’ translate into the worldviews and practices of individual believers and those of no religious affiliation?

We particularly warmly welcome papers that address these and related issues and focus on Central and Eastern Europe.

The conference topics include, but are not limited to:

  • theories, methods and approaches to studying the constellations of religious and secular organizations in CEE;
  • local constellations of religious and secular actors: in the CEE region (as compared to other geopolitical locations), and in particular countries of the CEE;
  • local constellations of religious and secular actors in the context of transnational flow of ideas and transnational organizing;
  • the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on religious and secular landscapes and methods for studying them;
  • majority and minority religions and their involvement in politics and political struggles;
  • religion and identity categories (gender, sexuality, ethnicity, etc.);
  • discourses on the religious and the secular;
  • individual approaches to religion/spirituality and politics;
  • cultivating religion/spirituality in disconnection with political struggles.

Keynote speakers
Agnieszka Kościańska, University of Warsaw, Poland & University of Oxford, UK
Siniša Zrinščak, University of Zagreb, Croatia

We plan to organize the conference in a hybrid format: on-site and virtually. Participants will declare their mode of participation at the stage of registration. At the same time, however, we will continue to monitor the situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic and we will comply with any relevant administrative regulations; we will host a fully online conference if that is the best solution.

Key dates
Submission of paper and session proposals: January 5, 2022
Notification of acceptance and opening of the registration: January 15, 2022

Applications for the ISORECEA Solidarity Fund and Miklós Tomka Award: January 31, 2022

Announcing beneficiaries of the Solidarity Fund and the winner of the Miklós Tomka Award: February 12, 2022
Final date for registration for the conference: February 15, 2022
Final program: March 15, 2022

Please note that in order to present a paper you need to be a member of ISORECEA for the years 2022-2023. Scholars who are not currently members of ISORECEA are invited to submit a paper/session proposal, however, they must become ISORECEA members (i.e. have paid their membership fee for 2022-2023) by February 15, 2022, which is the final date for registration for the conference. The conference fees and membership fees for two years are as follows (in EURO) for countries falling into the ISA categories, A, B and C*:


List of Countries* A B C
Regular members 80 60 40
Retired 40 30 20
Students and unemployed 30 18 12

* This is according to the Table of Economies used by the International Sociological Association:
Conference fees for online participants will be 50% lower (each category).


List of Countries* A B C
Regular members 60 40 20
Retired, students and unemployed 30 20 10

* This is according to the Table of Economies used by the International Sociological Association:

Those whose papers have been accepted for the conference will be asked to pay their fees through the PayPal system at the ISORECEA website or via the bank transfer. Details will be available here.

Practical information (conference venue, transport, etc.) is available at the ISORECEA website. In case of any questions related to the conference, please send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We are looking forward to receiving your papers!


ISORECEA President

Dorota Hall


Organizing Committee

Dorota Hall

Marta Kołodziejska

Sławomir Mandes