Mapping Catholic Politics in Contemporary Italy

DSCN1960Mapping Catholic Politics in Contemporary Italy 

Call for Papers

Catholic politics in Italy is slowly emerging from the shadow of Democrazia Cristiana, but its new configurations remain surprisingly understudied and undertheorized. Even as scholars debate whether the end of Christian Democracy means the end of religious politics in Italy, the Italian Catholic world has evolved in complex ways, producing new religious and political dynamics: the changing role of the Vatican and the changing configurations of Catholic elites and associations articulate extra-parliamentary Catholic politics in new ways; new Catholic communities and lay elites have recomposed the agents and the aims of the Catholic public sphere; and an enduring but increasingly plural Catholic electorate continues to be attracted by political agendas inspired by Catholic social doctrine and ethics. The impact and political potential of these evolving dynamics are unclear and appear to have left both scholars and practitioners without an articulated empirical, theoretical or normative grasp of contemporary Catholic politics in Italy.

Studies responding to this lack are invited for a published collection. Suggested themes include the following:

  • Catholic elites’ political projects (e.g. the Todi initiative, the Monti-ACLI-Sant’Egidio alliance, CEI political strategies);
  • Ÿ The politics of Catholic lay movements and associations (e.g. Azione cattolica, Comunione e liberazione, Focolari, Sant’Egidio, Caritas, ACLI, CISL, Coldiretti);
  • Ÿ The evolution of Vatican political activity and church-state relations (e.g. Ratzinger and Francis, the CEI, constitutional and legal privileges)
  • Ÿ Patterns of contemporary Catholic religious belief and its electoral and social implications;
  • Ÿ Catholic political thought in Italy (e.g. the common good, solidarity, freedom, personhood, human nature, reason, rights, democracy);
  • Ÿ Catholic analyses of political issues (e.g. economic justice, immigration, education, abortion, euthanasia, other bioethical issues, the environment);
  • Ÿ Implications of political theory for contemporary Catholic politics in Italy, and vice versa (e.g. post-secularism, public reason, religious freedom);
  • Ÿ Comparisons with trends in religious politics elsewhere, particularly in Europe, the Middle East/North Africa and North America.

Abstracts of 500-1000 words should be submitted by December 10, 2014. Notice of acceptance will be provided by January 1, 2015. Final papers will be due by May 1, 2015.

The collection will be edited by Tom Bailey and Michael Driessen. Tom Bailey ( teaches philosophy and political theory at John Cabot University in Rome, and currently works on religion in contemporary liberal democratic theory. He has recently edited three collections in this field, Rawls and Religion (with V. Gentile, Columbia UP, 2014), Deprovincializing Habermas: Global Perspectives (Routledge, 2013), and Religion and the Limits of Liberalism (with V. Gentile, special issue of Philosophia, 2012). Michael Driessen (; is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at John Cabot University. His research focuses on public religions in the Mediterranean, and he has published Religion and Democratization: Framing Political and Religious Identities in Catholic and Muslim Societies (Oxford UP, 2014), as well as articles in Comparative Politics, Sociology of Religion, Politics and Religion, and Cosmopolis.



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