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Chriss Hann

Religion, Collective Identity and the Public Sphere After Socialism (21.01.2015)

21st January, 2015

The burgeoning international social science literature on public religion and secularization has paid less attention than it might have to recent developments in postsocialist societies, though these are extremely interesting theoretically as well as empirically. In some countries where religion was formerly repressed severely, it now approximates the role (de facto if not de jure) of a state religion. Some churches seem to be entering into compromises with the new state power reminiscent of those they reached with atheist Marxist-Leninists in the last decades of socialism. Some secular identities conflict with constitutional guarantees and international standards for religious human rights. How should academic analysts approach these issues? The lecture will draw on results of recent projects at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, as well as other recent anthropological projects in Russia, Poland and Hungary.


Chriss Hann

Professor of Social Anthropology and director of the Max-Planck Institute for Social Anthropology at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg.

Main Research:

  • economic organization

  • property relations

  • religion

  • civil society

  • ethnicity

  • nationalism

Publications (selection):

  • Renleixue de quewei (The Theft of Anthropology. Selected contributions on postsocialist transformation from anthropological perspectives). Beijing: Minzu University Press, 2014.

  • with Keith Hart: Economic Anthropology; History, Ethnography, Critique. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011.

  • with the "Civil Religion" group: The Postsocialist Religious Question: faith and power in Central Asia and East-Central Europe. Münster: LIT, 2006.

  • Not the Horse We Wanted! Postsocialism, Neoliberalism and Eurasia. Münster: LIT, 2006.

  • with the “Property Relations” Group: The Postsocialist Agrarian Question: Property Relations and the Rural Condition. Münster: LIT, 2003.