The Politics of Religious Freedom and the Role of Transnational Religious Networks in the Organization of American States

Abstract

Religious freedom is an important concept in international global history, and yet, their definition has been frequently taken for granted in legal and political institutions worldwide. In this paper, I delve into the politics of religious freedom at the Organization of American States (OAS). I turn to transnational and regional networks in the Americas, in particular, the discourses, practices, and performances of civil society groups in relation to their understanding and practice of religious freedom in international organizations like the OAS. I argue that, in recent years, there is a tension between the official member states and civil society groups regarding the understanding of the right to freedom of religion or belief in the OAS. While member states and the international organization propose the notion of “religious freedom” merely as an individual human right; transnational religious networks dispute individual and collective ideas of religious freedom, acknowledging ideas of race, gender, and transnational elements embedded in the construction of political subjects in spaces of global governance. My research draws from ethnographic fieldwork in the OAS General Assembly and Summit of the Americas (2017-2023) as well as an interpretive approach to the participation of civil society groups in international organizations.

Presenters

Ely Orrego Torres
PhD Candidate, Political Science, Northwestern University, United States

Details

Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Theme

The Politics of Religion

KEYWORDS

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, GLOBAL RELIGION, TRANSNATIONAL RELIGION, RELIGIOUS NETWORKS, LATIN AMERICA

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