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  • Mathijs Pelkmans (a1)

The religious revival that followed the collapse of the USSR provides an excellent opportunity to compare the dynamics of projects of religious freedom with those of religious repression. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, this article documents the contradictory effects that both repressive and liberal policies and laws have on religious expression. Thus, while Soviet anti-religious policies undeniably caused much suffering and hardship, religious repression also contributed to an intensification of religious experience among certain Muslim and evangelical groups. And while religious freedom laws expanded the scope for public religious organization and expression, they also produced new inequalities between religious groups, as the cases of Georgia and Kyrgyzstan demonstrate. Ultimately, the article shows that the effects of liberal and repressive laws are far from straightforward and need to be analyzed in relation to the social context in which they are applied.

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Webb Keane , “Freedom and Blasphemy: On Indonesian Press Bans and Danish Cartoons,” Public Culture 21, no. 1 (2009): 4776

Reuel Hanks , “Repression as Reform: Islam in Uzbekistan during the Early Glasnost Period,” Religion, State & Society 29, no. 3 (2001): 227–39

Alexander Agadjanian , “Revising Pandora's Gifts: Religious and National Identity in the Post-Soviet Societal Fabric,” Europe-Asia Studies 53, no. 3 (2001): 473–88

Chris Hann and Mathijs Pelkmans , “Realigning Religion and Power in Central Asia: Islam, Nation-State and (Post)Socialism,” Europe-Asia Studies 61, no. 9 (2009): 1517–41

Reuel Hanks , “Religion and Law in Uzbekistan: Renaissance and Repression in an Authoritarian Context,” in Regulating Religion: Case Studies from around the Globe, ed. James T. Richardson (New York: Kluwer Academic, 2004), 319–30

Roman Podoprigora , “Religious Freedom and Human Rights in Kazakhstan,” Religion, State & Society 31, no. 2 (2003): 123–32

Rafis Abazov , “Policy of Economic Transition in Kyrgyzstan,” Central Asian Survey 18, no. 2 (1999): 197223

Bayram Balci , “The Rise of the Jama'at al Tabligh in Kyrgyzstan: The Revival of Islamic Ties between the Indian Subcontinent and Central Asia?,” Central Asian Survey 31, no. 1 (2012): 6176

Mathijs Pelkmans , “‘Culture’ as a Tool and an Obstacle: Missionary Encounters in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13, no. 4 (2007): 881–99

Julie McBrien and Mathijs Pelkmans , “Turning Marx on His Head: Missionaries, ‘Extremists,’ and Archaic Secularists in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan,” Critique of Anthropology 28, no. 1 (2008): 87103

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Journal of Law and Religion
  • ISSN: 0748-0814
  • EISSN: 2163-3088
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-law-and-religion
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