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Urban Green Religions? Religion in Low Carbon Transitions in two Western European Cities

English title Urban Green Religions? Religion in Low Carbon Transitions in two Western European Cities
Applicant Köhrsen Jens-Ole
Number 172754
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Theologische Fakultät Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Religious studies, Theology
Start/End 01.04.2018 - 31.01.2021
Approved amount 420'372.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Religious studies, Theology
Sociology

Keywords (8)

Religion; Sustainability; Low Carbon Transitions; Green Religion; Ecology; Cities; Energy; Spirituality

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Das Forschungsprojekt "Urban Green Religions" untersucht die Rolle von Religion im urbanen nachhaltigen Wandel in der Schweiz und Deutschland.
Lay summary

Religion kann eine zentrale Rolle bei Prozessen des ökologisch-nachhaltigen Wandels spielen. So erfreut sich Religion trotz Säkularisierungstendenzen einer hohen Popularität und Wahrnehmbarkeit: Sie prägt das alltägliche Leben großer Bevölkerungsgruppen, während religiöse Führungsfiguren einflussreiche Akteure im öffentlichen Raum sind. Zugleich positionieren sich religiöse Akteure zunehmend zu den ökologischen Herausforderungen und versuchen Beiträge zum nachhaltigen Wandel zu leisten, wie sich prominent an der Enzyklika Laudato Si: Über die Sorge für das gemeinsame Haus von Papst Franziskus zeigt. Trotz des zunehmenden Engagements religiöser Akteure kann Religion jedoch auch eine bremsende Wirkung auf nachhaltigen Wandel haben oder gar zu Umweltproblemen beitragen. Dies ist etwa der Fall, wenn religiöse Kosmologien eine klimatische Apokalypse als notwendigen Schritt auf dem Weg zur göttlichen Verheißung betrachten.   

Um zu ermitteln, welche Rolle Religion im urbanen nachhaltigen Wandel spielt, werden religiöse Akteure (z.B. Kirchen) und nicht-institutionalisierte Formen von Religiosität (z.B. Ökospiritualität) in den Blick genommen. Deren Beiträge zum nachhaltigen Wandel werden vergleichend in zwei Städten untersucht. Die Untersuchung wird Aufschluss darüber geben, ob und in welcher Weise Religion von Relevanz für den nachhaltigen Wandel in führenden Städten im Bereich Nachhaltigkeit ist.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 08.03.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Publications

Publication
Das Ergrünen von Religionen: Ökologische Nachhaltigkeit in religiösen Gemeinschaften
HuberFabian, KöhrsenJens (2020), Das Ergrünen von Religionen: Ökologische Nachhaltigkeit in religiösen Gemeinschaften, in Barth Thomas, Henkel Anna (ed.), Transcript, Bielefeld, 115-126.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
European Sociological Association (ESA) Midterm Conference Research Network 34 Sociology of Religion Talk given at a conference Religions in Ecological Transformations 26.08.2020 Groningen, Netherlands Köhrsen Jens-Ole;
International Sustainability Transitions Conference, Talk given at a conference How Field Logics and Positions shape Sustainability Activities on the Local and Supra-Local Scale 18.08.2020 Wien, Austria Huber Fabian; Blanc Julia; Köhrsen Jens-Ole;
European Group of Organizational Studies 36th egos Colloquium 2020, Talk given at a conference Religious organisations in Germany’s and Switzerland’s sustainability transitions: diverging logics on national and local fields 02.07.2020 Hamburg, Germany Blanc Julia; Köhrsen Jens-Ole; Huber Fabian;
Futures of Sustainability Fellow Programme at the University of Hamburg Individual talk Religion and Sustainability 05.02.2020 Hamburg, Germany Köhrsen Jens-Ole;
Jahrestagung der Deutschen Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaft (DVRW) Talk given at a conference Grüne Religion? – Potentiale und Herausforderungen auf lokaler Ebene 03.09.2019 Hannover, Germany Huber Fabian;
Conference “Between Cosmology and Community – Religion and Sustainable Development” Talk given at a conference Religion(s) Addressing Climate Change: What Roles can Religion(s) Play in Cities? 02.07.2019 Berlin, Germany Köhrsen Jens-Ole;
17th Annual Conference of the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) Talk given at a conference Greening Processes among Religious Organizations: Implementations at the Local Level 25.06.2019 Tartu, Estonia Huber Fabian;
Religion/Water/Climate:Changing Cultures and Landscapes. Conference of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC Talk given at a conference Greening Processes among Religious Organizations: Implementations at the Local Level 13.06.2019 Cork, Ireland Blanc Julia;
10 Minuten Soziologie Individual talk Green Religions: Religion und Nachhaltigkeit 09.01.2019 Lüneburg, Germany Huber Fabian;
École Polytechnique/Mines ParisTech, “X-Environnement: Religions, spiritualité et environnement Individual talk Religion and Spirituality in Environmental Change 12.12.2018 Paris, France Köhrsen Jens-Ole;
International Sustainability Conference Talk given at a conference Urban Green Religions 27.09.2018 Strasbourg, France Blanc Julia;
European Sociological Association (ESA) Midterm Conference Research Network “Energy & Society" Talk given at a conference Religion in Urban Energy Transitions: Preliminary Insights 03.09.2018 Exeter, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Köhrsen Jens-Ole;
European Sociological Association (ESA) Midterm Conference Research Network 34 “Sociology of Religion” Talk given at a conference Transformations towards Environmental Sustainability: The Potentials of Religion 29.08.2018 Torino, Italy Köhrsen Jens-Ole;
Annual Conference of the European Association for the Study of Religion Talk given at a conference Transitions toward Sustainability: What is Religion doing here? In 17.06.2018 Basel, Switzerland Köhrsen Jens-Ole;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Religious Environmentalism: A Field of Tensions 22.05.2019 Basel, Switzerland
Religion in Environmental Change: Empirical Insights 15.11.2018 Basel, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Zukunftsworkshop«Urban Green Religions» 06.03.2020 Luzern, Switzerland

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
192407 Are Religions becoming Green? Faith-Based Environmentalism in Switzerland 01.02.2021 Project funding

Abstract

This research project explores the role of religion in urban low carbon transitions. As Western European countries struggle to implement more sustainable forms of living, vast research is being conducted to study and inform these transitions processes. Sustainability transitions research has highlighted the role of actors from a variety of social spheres in promoting low carbon transitions. However, it has thus far ignored religion as a potentially important factor, despite the growing number of academic contributions in religious studies that underscore its role in promoting low carbon transitions. In particular, religion’s impact on current low carbon transitions in cities remains largely unexplored. This research project addresses this research gap by studying how religion manifests itself in urban low carbon transition processes. The research project combines insights from (a) sustainability transition studies, (b) sociological theory, and (c) contributions to the debate on religion and ecology, to evolve a framework for the study of religion in low carbon transitions. This framework identifies two ways in which religion may become manifest in urban low carbon transitions: (a) religious actors (e.g. Christian churches) acting as “service providers” for low carbon transitions, contributing to these processes with specific functions (i.e. public lobbying, materialization of transitions, environmental value dissemination); and (b) “non-religious” actors involved in low carbon transitions employing religion in their communication (e.g. politicians referring to the sacredness of nature). Accordingly, the proposed research will focus on two potential manifestations of religion in urban low carbon transitions: (a) contributions from religious actors to these transitions, (b) religion manifesting itself in the environmental engagement of “non-religious” actors. Focusing on these two types of actors, the project will undertake research in two benchmark cities with multiple research methods, including qualitative interviews, analysis of document material, and participative observation. A comparative analysis of the results from the cities will provide first empirical insights into the roles of religion in urban low carbon transitions and thereby contribute to the debate on religion and sustainability. Emphasizing a, to date, neglected factor, the project endeavours to promote a more encompassing and inclusive understanding of sustainable transitions, which may reveal new possibilities for advancing these transformation processes.
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