Religion in the Asian Public Sphere
Political democratization in Asia creates a new means of religious embeddedness in society. On the one hand, religious belief and religious association are protected as basic human rights. On the other hand, we are faced with “religious risks” of “criminality” by religious groups and “radicalism and/or extremism” of religious political movements. “Religious risk” is not only referring to those religious actions harming individual rights or damaging social safety, but also those challenge liberal society.
Moreover, modern religious embeddedness also represents a new form of social engagement for religious groups. Two examples are the religious mobilization for and against same-sex marriage in Taiwan and the recent resurgence of Shintoand other nationalistic religion-oriented political movements which plans to revise the Constitution of Japan. This kind of social engagement is often concerned with public policy and brings about either tension or cooperation between the government and religious groups. For these reasons, the relationship between nationalism, religion, and politics has been attracting considerable attention from social critics and researchers. This panel welcomes papers exploring various religious representations in the public sphere, which reflect contemporary forms of religio-political relations in Asia.