Project: Religion and patterns of social and economic organization. Elective affinity between religion and economy in Christian denominations in Switzerland and Russia
RESEARCH GRANT: RHF -SNSF
DURATION OF THE PROJECT: 2016-2019
PROJECT COORDINATOR: Ivan Zabaev
PROJECT COORDINATOR WITH SWISS SIDE: Prof. Dr. Stefan Huber, professor für Empirische Religionsforschung und Theorie der interreligiösen Kommunikation, Universität Bern, Institut für Praktische Theologie
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Prior to the crisis of 2008 that took place in the US and Europe, the socio-economic situation was described by many economists and political analysts from the dominant neoliberal wing as late modernity with representative democracy and the free market as sole normative model of social and economic system. After the crisis of 2008, this normative example has seized to be unquestionable: the crisis affected the developed countries which actively promoted the centrality of financial innovation, from the stock market to mortgages and the practices of unsecured borrowing (credits).
Economic models which view religion as a predictor of economic development in society consider that the market economy, being the dominant type of economic relations in the contemporary world, is the equivalent of development. Traditionally, this model views certain Protestant denominations as those religious systems that effectively foster the process of economic development.
Currently, there is no model which would allow analyzing both the contributions of religion to the development of human societies and, at the same time, the involvement of the types of economic relations as an alternative or complement to the market exchange.
In this contemporary situation the proposed research project explores the capacity of religion in facilitating the development of various patterns of social and economic organization by analyzing the elective affinity (Weber) of various Christian denominations (Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism) and three types of economic relations (market exchange, redistribution, gift exchange). The main research questions are the following:
1) How does religion contribute to economic growth and sustainable development?
2) How the relation between religions and economy is influenced by different types and components of religion and religiosity?
3) How the relation between religions and economy is moderated by those types of economic relations – market exchange, redistribution, and reciprocity (gift exchange)?
The research project is theoretically based on a different pattern of economic relations, as well as on a differentiated model of religion and religiosity.
The model of economic relations is based on the substantive anthropology approach. It takes into account those types of economic and social systems where the institution of free market is not the sole normative element for the economic relations.
The model of religion and religiosity includes social and individual components. The social component of religion is identified at three levels: micro-, meso- and macro-level. The model takes into consideration the particular characteristics of countries with religious monopoly (like Orthodoxy in Russia or Protestantism in Scandinavia) and the specific features of countries with high levels of religious pluralism, as well as countries which have or have not undergone forced secularization.
The model of relation between economy and religion is tested via empirical research in Russia and Switzerland.
The elaborated model within this project could be used for analyzing the contribution of religion to economic growth and sustainable development. Also, it may provide for international economic institutions some important insights regarding the assessment of the quality of life.
The project’s outcomes will be summarized in a monograph in English and Russian languages, and in a series of articles published in international peer-reviewed journals. The results will be presented at international conferences and workshops, and will be distributed among the academic and public institutions.