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In-between the Constitution and the European Court of Human Rights: Mobilizations Around Religion and Education in Greece

  • Margarita Markoviti (a1)

This paper examines the impact of European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decisions on the field of religion and education in Greece around the issues of the content and objectives of religious education, the exemption thereof, and religious symbols in school. The findings indicate that despite the relevance of ECtHR case law with the specific field in Greece, the Court's role in influencing such national debates is minimal. Drawing on empirical research and discourse analysis, the paper argues that this is due to the doctrine of the margin of appreciation, apparently linked to strategic references to and varying interpretations of the Court's judgments; the unwillingness of actors to litigate in a potentially sensitive, lengthy, and costly procedure; and to a shared belief in the perceived primacy of constitutional provisions on religion and education that precludes the formation of structured mobilizations.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: M. Markoviti, Grassrootsmobilise, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), Vassilisis Sofias 49, Athens, 10676. E-mail:
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This work was supported by the FP7 Ideas: European Research Council under Grant 338463.

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Politics and Religion
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