Governing Religious Diversity in Australia


Friday Seminar Series

Start Date

15th Apr 2016 1:00pm

End Date

15th Apr 2016 2:00pm


Law 132 Seminar Room, Faculty of Law Building, Sandy Bay Campus

RSVP / Contact Information



The Institute for the Study of Social Change and the School of Social Sciences present

F R I D A Y    S E M I N A R    S E R I E S

Governing Religious Diversity in Australia

Professor Doug Ezzy, University of Tasmania


This paper examines governance policies and practices for the management of religious diversity.  Existing research suggests some governance policies and practices can both defuse religious conflict, encourage tolerance, and enable religious minorities to more confidently address emerging problems within their own communities. This is particularly important in the context of fears about radicalisation and extremism. I illustrate this argument through a discussion of the Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.  However, where do strategies of tolerance reach their limit?  In particular, how important are the broader patterns of migration, ethnicity, and religious diversity in Australia to underpinning the success of this legislation.  Some commentators have raised concerns that 'tolerance' creates threats to 'shared values.' Drawing on Veit Bader's concept of democratic institutional pluralism, I argue that these concerns are misplaced.  Further, beyond tolerance, successful religious diversity requires governance practices and policies that facilitate constructive religious participation in the public sphere that in turn promotes social cohesion and an economically productive society.

Douglas Ezzy is Professor of Sociology at the University of Tasmania, Australia.  He is President of the Australian Association for the Study of Religion, and the Editor of the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion. His most recent book is Sex, Death and Witchcraft, published by Bloomsbury.

All welcome! Contact Dr Louise Grimmer, Community Engagement Manager, for more information or directions to the venue (