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The Changing Dynamics of Religion and National Identity: Greece and the Republic of Ireland in a Comparative Perspective

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Whereas most of Western Europe experienced a separation between the political and religious spheres in the past decades, in Greece and the Republic of Ireland the process of secularisation has been inhibited due to close association between religion and national identity. This paper examines these countries in a comparative perspective and argues that the process of secularisation in Ireland has been explicitly linked to a shift in national identity, a development which has not taken place in Greece. The relationship between religion and national identity is contingent on two factors: internally, the degree in which a church obstructs the modernisation process and, externally, the level of threat perceptions.


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