Workgroup for Empiric Research of Religion (AGER)

Interreligious Relationships

At present, Switzerland faces profound changes in the religious landscape. On the one hand the influence of the national churches declines significantly. On the other hand, many non-Christian communities as well as formerly marginal denominations are growing. The largest non-Christian religious group is the Muslim community counting up to 4,9% of Switzerland's resident population. This is first and foremost reflected in discourses about endangerment and integration, in interfaith (dialog-) initiatives as well as in the growing number of interfaith couples and marriages. The submitted project targets at the pivotal, yet barely explored topic of interfaith marriages and couples in Switzerland, which is considered vital for a successful, religiously pluralistic society. About 1200 Christian-Muslim couples enter into marriage each year in Switzerland. The project examines the role of religion, religiosity and spirituality in Christian-Muslim marital and non-marital couples and explores their development of interfaith models and strategies of convenience. Methodologically, the project uses individualization and identification theories as well as concept from psychology of religion and psychology of personal constructs. The research design combines different methodological approaches (mixed-methods). Basis for the final the quantitative part of the proposed study are the following three surveys:

1. In an initial survey, Christian and Muslim clergy as well as representatives of support groups, pressure groups and information centres are interviewed. These interviews focus on interfaith potentials, gender roles, areas of conflict and solution strategies as well as their underlying normativity.

2. Core element of this part of the study, however, is a sample of 60 so-called ‘Grid Interviews’ with individuals who either live in a persistent Christian-Muslim relationship or who have experienced its failure. Special attention is paid to core constructs of the (religious) sense of self/sense of partner. Equally, the potential of change and the ability of (re-)positioning of the self (and the partner) within Christian-Muslim social or emotional bonds are investigated.

3. In addition, problem-centred interviews with 20 individuals selected from of the above-mentioned grid sample are conducted. In analogy to the expert interviews, interfaith potentials, gender roles, areas of conflict and solution strategies as well as their underlying normativity are examined.

On basis of the qualitative interviews described above a typology of interfaith Christian-Muslim partner relationships is developed. This typology is operationalized in a standardized questionnaire for a quantitative online-study with about 400 individuals living in interfaith relationships. In addition, supplementary variables about religiosity, personality and social issues are included in the questionnaire. This research strategy leads to the extrapolation and quantification of successful interfaith partnership models. Furthermore, these models are coupled with religious, personal and social factors. Finally, qualitative and quantitative findings are triangulated. All results and research outcomes are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In addition, the main outcomes, however, will be made available to selected peers (e.g., clergy, information centres and others), interested lay persons and to the wider public as well through the media and other channels.

Aktivities

May, 16th-18th 2014, Conference ‘Die Ehe — traditionelle Lebensform in pluraler Gesellschaft im christlich-muslimischen Gespräch’ University of Paderborn
Franziska Huber: Presentation: Interreligiöse Partnerschaft: Forschungsstand und Forschungsdesiderate der empirischen Religionsforschung

September, 6th 2014, Night of Research, University of Berne
Franziska Huber & Emmanuel Schweizer: Booth: Interreligious Relationships

Publications

Huber, F., & Schweizer, E. (2013). Religion und Partnerschaft — Eine empirische Studie zur Deutung und Bedeutung der Religion in interreligiösen Beziehungen am Beispiel jüdisch-christlicher Partnerschaften. Maserthesis, University of Berne.

Award

Franziska Huber & Emmanuel Schweizer: Preis der christlich-jüdischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft (CJA) 2014, Auszeichnung für ihre Masterarbeit (2013). Religion und Partnerschaft — Eine empirische Studie zur Deutung und Bedeutung der Religion in interreligiösen Beziehungen am Beispiel jüdisch-christlicher Partnerschaften Press Release

 

 

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Contact:

Prof. Dr. Stefan Huber
Faculty of Theology
Länggassstrasse 51
3012 Bern
e-mail