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Theses

Fragmented universalism : the making of the right to freedom of religion at the European Court of Human Rights

Abstract : The thesis examines the litigious negotiation and contestation of the right to freedom of religion at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) from the early 1990s until today. A twofold observation constitutes the starting point for this investigation. First, the trend of the judicialization of politics increasingly extends to the domain of the politics of religious regulation. Second, an increasing number of strategic religious and secular litigators has intervened in transnational judicial struggles. Against this backdrop, the thesis asks how religious and secular actors influence the construction of the judicial norm. It analyzes the judicial activism of a variety of religious actors, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and secular actors. The main argument is that the unequal distribution of power and resources among religious minorities and majorities translates into diverging strategies of religious freedom litigation, and, thereby, into the interpretation of the right to freedom of religion. The power asymmetry leads to inequality regarding the degree of openness of the legal opportunity structure of the ECtHR and hence the participation in the judicial norm building. In particular, it shows that while some actors tend to adapt their religious claims in order to fit dominant interpretations of the law, other actors contest the interpretation of the foundations of the law itself. Furthermore, different means of litigation fuel an intensified ideological opposition and tension within liberal religious freedom interpretations.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 4, 2022 - 3:51:53 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 5, 2022 - 3:36:35 AM

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Lisa Harms. Fragmented universalism : the making of the right to freedom of religion at the European Court of Human Rights. Political science. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po; Georg-August-Universität (Göttingen, Allemagne), 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019IEPP0038⟩. ⟨tel-03659161⟩

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