Religious Agency and the Integration of Marginalized People

Author: Allen Hertzke

November 20, 2017

Mounting empirical research suggests that violations of religious freedom and agency tend to reinforce oppressive structures that marginalize, or prevent integration of, impoverished people, exploited women, migrants, ethnic and religious minorities, and outcasts. Protections of religious agency, on the other hand, act as powerful engines of empowerment and integration of otherwise marginalized people. Sadly, massive repression of this empowering religious agency is present in numerous places around the globe. This paper by Allen Hertzke presents the findings of research sponsored by the Berkley Center's Religious Freedom Project (2011-2016) that draws upon unprecedented global data and employs sophisticated methodologies to explore the empirical relationships between the freedom of religious exercise and human flourishing. The paper also outlines the initial liniments of a theoretical framework for understanding them. "Religious Agency and the Integration of Marginalized People" is included in the forthcoming Towards a Participatory Society: New Roads to Social and Cultural Integration (2018, ed. Pierpaolo Donati), the proceedings of the 2017 plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

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