Values - Politics - Religion: The European Values Study 2018-2021

In April 2020, the “Interdisciplinary research study group” at the University of Vienna has started a new project based on the full Data release of the European Values Study (EVS: expected for autumn 2020.

The European Values Study (EVS) is a representative international replication study, which has been carried out in five waves since 1981. In 2018, it was conducted in more than 40 countries and used representative surveys to ascertain attitudes and values on the topics of family, work, politics, society, religion as well as national and European identity.

Headed by Regina Polak and assisted by Patrick Rohs (both working at the Department of Practical Theology at the Catholic-Theological Faculty at the University of Vienna), the project aims at the publication of an anthology, which focuses the interpretation of the data on the relationship between "politics and religion". The close connection between religious and political values has been demonstrated by the EVS 2010 (and other international studies such as by the PEW-Research Foundation), but so far has not yet been explored on an empirical as well as interdisciplinary basis systematically and on an international level. At the same time, this topic is one of the central and controversial discourses conflict lines in Europe.

The anthology is a multi-perspective and interdisciplinary, scientifically sound exploration of the possibilities and limits of the concept of values in political and religious discourses. This will be done by means of empirical case studies, by embedding them in fundamental questions of value research, by reflecting on criteria of (political) ethics, and by developing future perspectives for value discourses in political and religious contexts.

The focus of the publication will therefore be on selected empirical comparative analyses, which will deal with the comparison of political values in Western and Eastern Europe and the role of religion within this context. Furthermore, central lines of conflict in Europe's socio-religious field will be identified and a central value in both political discourses and the self-image of religious communities will be explored: the solidarity of European citizens and the connections between solidarity and political and religious values. Special attention is also paid to selected population groups that are regularly given too little attention in classical value studies: the cosmopolitan milieu, socio-culturally marginalised groups and migrants.

To reach these objectives an international group of renowned scholars from the diverse disciplines is responsible for the research and will discuss, reflect and link its research findings: Loek Halman and Inge Sieben (Tilburg University), Gert and Susanne Pickel (University of Leipzig, University of Duisburg-Essen), Pierre Bréchon (Sciences po Grenoble), Elisabeth Holzleitner (University of Vienna), Christoph Mandry (Goethe-University Frankfurt), Bernhard Grümme (Ruhr-University Bochum), Barbara Coudenhove-Kalergi (Austrian federation of Indusries) and others have already declared their cooperation in the project. A research-workshop will be held in November 2020.

The publication aims to provide an internationally relevant academic as well as practically orientated contribution to the current societal, political and media debates on values in the European Union to improve its standard and impact.