Call for Papers

Commercialisation of religions in the globalising world Nicosia,

15-17 September 2023

University of Vienna – University of Nicosia




Religion and rituals have been part of being human and interpreting human existence since time immemorial. Religion and the “sacred” belong together. Sacred places and times, objects and persons, symbols and signs, words and writings take people into the religious sphere.

Society and religions are always in motion in their relationship to each other. In secular societies, economic aspects of institutions not only play a role in politics and people’s personal lives, but are also in the interest of religious communities. This means that the spiritual world is no longer an island of the spiritual and is no longer protected from material power and greed. Due to far-reaching globalisation, the border between the material and the spiritual is becoming thinner and thinner.

Today, there is a danger that society will dissolve into highly independent individual segments. Religious communities then appear like an arbitrary sector among various areas of life, such as work, leisure, business, sport. As religious communities are assigned ever more narrowly defined tasks, religions are increasingly becoming a particular sector of social life.

The present is characterised by increasing religious pluralism and globalisation of all areas of life. Commercialisation not only challenges religions and a way of life rooted in faith, it also challenges the orientation of the individual as well as human society as a whole.

This international symposium will explore questions relevant to both religions and the future of the global community, shedding light on the consequences of commercialisation for society and religious communities.

  • 5

    In what ways is growing commercialisation changing societies, and how are these changes related transnationally?

  • 5

    How do religions and their institutions deal with the commercialisation of religious rituals and holy places and what behavioural reactions follow from this?

  • 5

    How do actors from politics, religion, civil society, science and arts try to influence these processes of change?

  • 5

    How do economic processes change the role of authorities in religious institutions?

  • 5

    Which sorts of reactions to commercialisation withhin religions are discernible in different contexts?

  • 5

    How do religions change their structures and theological orientation, as well as interpretations under the influence of economic interests?

  • 5

    Does the Commercialisation of religion have a significance for religious education.

  • 5

    Halal industry and consequences for the Islamic community.

  • 5

    Media marketing of religions and consequences for theology.

  • 5

    Commercialisation of pilgrimages in the religions.

We invite proposals for panels and papers. Multidisciplinary panels and those that bring together different perspectives in line with the conference theme or rethink religious communities from the perspective of commercialisation will be given special consideration in the selection process. However, there are no thematic restrictions, i.e., panels as well as papers on all topics related to religion, religious rituals in the process of commercialisation can be submitted. Selected and positively reviewed papers will be published in an edited volume by Springer Verlag as publication. Proposals for panels and papers can be submitted in English only.


Proposals for panels of 90 minutes (each with three to a maximum of four short presentations (20 min. each) should include a preliminary title and a description of the panel topic (800 words) indicating the innovative potential of the panel in the context of existing research. In addition, names, titles and abstracts of 250-300 words each should be attached to each of the presentations. The abstracts should explain the specific research question, the theoretical and methodological approach and, if applicable, the data used.


Proposals for papers can also be submitted independently of panels. They should include a preliminary title and a short abstract of about 500 words explaining the exact research question, the theoretical and methodological approach and, if applicable, the data used. Papers with an interdisciplinary and international comparative orientation are preferred.

Please send your proposals by 22 June 2023 to Papers will be selected by 30 June 2023 and must be submitted in full by 10 August 2023. The conference committee may replace papers for which no text is available by this date with papers from a reserve list. A broad-based programme committee will support the organisers in selecting the panel and presentation proposals received.


The organization and costs of travel and costs for accommodation at the conference venue must be borne by the participants themselves. However, the organisers will support applicants in this.