Economic Religion: A religio-philosophical study of the intertwinement between religion and economy and its consequences for the European project

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Erik Sporon Fiedler


University of Copenhagen


DKK 1,263,205




Strategic Grants


The relationship between religion and politics has for decades been an important field of study and a topic for public debates, but lately interest has been raised towards the relationship between religion and economy. This project seeks to provide an intellectual history of the present by investigating the role of religion in contemporary debates on financial policy in the European Union within an overall context of crisis-policies from 2008 to 2020. Focusing on Italy and Denmark the project seeks to examine the faultline between the frugal EU-member countries promoting austerity measures and those subjected to these measures, from an assumption that economy is also a cultural and social phenomenon affected by religious heritage, national narratives and cultural history.


The global financial crisis of 2008-2009 and the subsequent debt-crisis of Southern Europe in 2012- 2013 stirred scholarly interest in the connection between economy and religion. Since then, attention has only increased. Much of the research has been focusing on the intellectual historical developments of a religio-economical complex and less on the contemporary consequences for policy-making and transnational collaboration. This project augments the historical perspective with a contemporary focus and attempt to develop a theoretical toolbox capable of investigating the intertwinement of religion and economy in the present. In doing so the project expects to shed light on disagreements on financial policy as a continuous point of contention within the EU from a novel perspective.


The theoretical framework of the project will be developed under the moniker economic religion in dialogue with Gentile's theory on political religion, the emerging research field of economic theology and recent research on debt and guilt as e.g. Stimilli and Lazzarato. The project is centred around two case-studies, namely Italy and Denmark. The empirical data will comprise of three types of documents: Constitutional and legal documents: selected debates and opinion-pieces in the media by politicians and public intellectuals: selected debates around financial policies and public statements within the European Union from 2008-2020.

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