Pluralism and Religion: Observing Social Pluralization, Exploring Conflict Tendencies

PROSPECT is a research project that explores responses to religious pluralization in societies across the globe. Religious pluralization is an important feature of the cultural conditions underlying social and political change in many parts of the world today. Religious plurality in the sense of objective diversity  – as opposed to the attitudes and policies to plurality that we call pluralism - has been a reality in many historical contexts before modern times. However, the past decades have witnessed rapidly growing awareness about religious pluralization in many societies across the world and this is creating a variety of responses from governments, from religious organizations and other components of civil society, and from individuals. The focus of PROSPECT is the comparative scholarly analysis of how accelerating religious pluralization and the awareness about this process are creating new cultural conditions for social conflict and cohesion. This involves detailed studies of local responses to pluralization in societies in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. 

PROSPECT was started by Professor Torkel Brekke of the University of Oslo in 2011 as an inter-faculty research program involving scholars from the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Theology at the University of Oslo. PROSPECT organized its first workshop in Oslo in September 2011 sponsored by PluRel. The second workshop was organized in Jerusalem in February 2012, hosted by 
Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and co-sponsored by Van Leer, PluRel and the Research Council of Norway.