Secularization and Laicity in Latin America: How do Religion and Politics Work?
What is the role of religion in public life? How can we explain that our society is, according to many indicators, increasingly secularized and at the same time religion seems to be a growing part of our political life? Latin America, with its Catholic tradition and its recent religious pluralism shows the difficulty of dealing with the creation of a more secular (laico) state responding to the increasing demands for democracy, human rights and equal treatment to all believers (and non believers). It is then through the lens of the so called secularization paradigm and the concept of laicization that we will try to understand the mechanisms of the contemporary role of religion in Latin America.
Roberto J. Blancarte is currently full time professor of the Center of Sociological Studies of El Colegio de México and was the Dean from the same Center from January 2006 to March 2012. He is also Associate Professor of the “Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités” (GSRL), a research group of the Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France, related to the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) in the Sorbonne (Paris). He is founder and adviser of the Interdisciplinary Program of Religious Studies at El Colegio Mexiquense. Member of the National System of Researchers in its highest level. He has been a Board member of the National Council on Bioethics and the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED). Roberto Blancarte is author of numerous book chapters and academic articles that have been published in the most prestigious sociological and historical journals, such as Social Compass (Great Britain), Journal of Church and State (USA), Problèmes d’Amérique latine (France), Religioni e società (Italy), International Sociology, Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions (France), etc. He has been director of publications and journals such as Religiones y sociedad. He has been a columnist in several national newspapers and magazines. Currently he has a weekly column in Milenio Diario and Noroeste.