Workgroup for Empiric Research of Religion (AGER)

Xenosophy/Xenophoby, Islamophoby

In this research area we investigate xenophobic and xenosophic attitudes and behavioral patterns of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and atheists in Switzerland. Xenosophia is characterized by positive attitudes towards others, xenophobia by negative attitudes. We aim to provide an in-depth understanding of the religious, social, and personal factors influencing xenosophia and xenophobia in an increasingly heterogeneous and religiously diverse society.
Our research is founded by an interdisciplinary modell of religiosity. It integrates psychological, sociological and theological perspecitves. Research designs distinguish between religious and nonreligious variables, and differentiates in both categories between social and personal variables (see Huber & Krech 2009 and the table below). Thereby the relative weight of particular factors should be identified.
For a deeper understanding of xenosophic patterns in religious and ideological semantics qualitatives interviews are necessary in this research area. Its results are of high practical relevance as they will enable us to identify possible intervention strategies to counteract xenophobic and foster xenosophic tendencies.

Table 1: Research design for the investigation of Xenosophy and Xenophoby
Factors Examples
Exogenous Factors Personal Factors Age, Sex, Education
Social Factors Social Capital
Endogenous Factors Personal Factors Centrality of religiosity, fundamentalism, reflection
Social Factors Religious Affilation


Contribution to conference: Cultural racism and interreligious prejudices. Establishing a dialogue between approaches of the Humanities and the Social Sciences:
Silvia Martens, Anna-Konstanze Schröder & Stefan Huber, XXI. World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions, august 23.-29. 2015 in Erfurt.

Contribution to conference: Xenosophia and Prejudices as Different Outcomes of (Religious) Out-Group Perception:
Anna-Konstanze Schröder & Stefan Huber, Congress of the International Association for the Psychology of Religion, august 17.-20. 2015 in Istanbul.

Contribution to conference: Short presentation on the project „Xenosophia and Xenophobia within and between Abrahamic Religions“:
Neorassismus im Spannungsfeld der Kulturen, february 19.-20. 2015 in Ludwigshafen.

Start of the SNSF-project 153528 "Xenosophia und Xenophobia in and between Abrahamic Religions. Social, Personal and Religious Causes of Xenosophic and Xenophobic Patterns in Inter-Religious Relations" (1.1.2015-31.12.2017)

Contribution to conference: Religious xenophobia in Europe — data from 2013 Religion Monitor:
Silvia Martens, International Islamophobia-Conference „Comparative approaches to studying Islamophobia“, October 9.-10. 2014 in Salzburg.

Main-speaker: Opium, secure attachment, and much more. The opposing roles of religion in the perspective of a psychological model of religiosity:
26. Jahrestagung des Forums Friedenspsychologie „Opium fürs Volk oder Hort sicherer Bindung. Zur Rolle von Religion internationalen und innergesellschaftlichen Konflikten“, june 28.-30. 2013 in Bremen.

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