Unlike the United States, European countries hardly look back on centuries of religious diversity. Questions like how to encourage a culture of mutual acceptance between different religious currents, on their ideological and structural boundaries, or whether the co-existence of different religious traditions can best be realized through dialogue, acculturation, indifference or amalgamation are not only relevant for academic discourse. The analysis of the respective conditions is of fundamental relevance for the European integration process.
The NORFACE Capacity Building project Network for the Investigation of Religious Pluralism in Europe aims at increasing cooperation of European research in this field. However, the project is not only one further building block to create an international network of religious studies in Bochum; it also stresses the role of empirical research on religion and its importance for the future set-up of social-political conditions in an international context.
Since its founding, the Capacity Building Project has tried to integrate topic-oriented research on a European level that enable the project partners to communicate and to share information on and experience from national research projects.
The activities of the Capacity Building Project can be divided into three components:
An international conference on “Religious Pluralisation in Europe - Conditions, Dimensions and Consequences“, held in October 2009 in Bochum, brought together all members of the Capacity Program and further researchers working in this field.
A homepage (www.plureligion.net) has been established to present the Capacity Building Project. It not only informs on religious pluralization as such, but also display research results.
The Capacity Building Project offered a summer school held in Bochum in July 2010. The summer school was primarily directed to young researchers working on religious pluralization.