OA-Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society (JRAT)

The Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society – JRAT is an interdisciplinary, international, online open-access journal with a double-blind peer-review process. It was established in 2015 with the aim of promoting the research topics of the Research Centre “Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society” (RaT, University of Vienna) in an international scope. Every issue has a distinct thematic focus which is approached from different disciplines.

The journal aims at investigating the contribution of religion to the cultural, political, juridical, and aesthetic dynamics in present-day pluralistic societies. Vice versa, it examines the influence of the contemporary processes of social transformation on religion and religious expressions. The mutual impact of religious and societal transformation processes requires the collaboration of different academic disciplines, which creates an interdisciplinary research space both for theologians of different religious and confessional traditions (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Islamic, etc.), as well as for researchers in the field of Religious Studies, Sociology of Religion, Social Sciences, Law, Jewish Studies, Islamic Studies, Indology, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Pedagogy, etc.

The editors of JRAT are members of the board of the Research Centre RaT, the editorial board of the journal is composed of many renowned international scholars in the fields of study mentioned above.

Jakob Deibl is Director of the Editorial Office. Hannah Bleckenwegner and Martin Eleven are employed at the Editorial Office.

Contact: jrat@univie.ac.at

Print-on-demand is possible.

JRAT Homepage at publishing Company BRILL


Current Issues

JRAT 7 (1/2021): Religion and the Sense of Law

The issue reflects on concepts of law determined or impacted by various currents of Abrahamitic religious traditions. Major alternative approaches regarding the status of revelation as a source of law are being addressed. Two basic types of religious approach can be distinguished: one embracing the idea of divine revelation containing prescriptions which are to be connected to and implemented in human legal and political reasoning, and another one absconding the divine from earthly political and legal paradigms in order to permeate them with relativizing spirituality. The various contributions explore the historical development of relevant strands of religious thought as well as the way in which they articulate themselves in the present-day diversity of a secularized and globalized environment.

JRAT 6 (2/2020): Interreligious Dialogue in Context: A European Perspective

The article sketches the overall layout of the thematic issue of the ‘Journal of Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Societies (JRAT)’ on Interreligious Dialogue (IRD) in context. It argues that an analysis of Interreligious Dialogue-activities in their socio-cultural contexts helps to counterbalance the long-standing individualistic bias of IRD-research. First, it presents a systematic description of the present state of the art that distinguishes two strands of IRD-research. Second, it argues for a European comparison, based upon the most recent findings from the ‘SMRE – Swiss Metadatabase of Religious Affiliation in Europe’. The article closes with references to the structure of the present volume of JRAT to facilitate such a comparison.

JRAT 6 (1/2020): Exploring Human Dignity. Foundations and Applications that Transform Contemporary Society

Two generations after the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there is a need to evaluate what has been achieved when it comes to discussions on human dignity and human rights in terms of their foundations and applications. This issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society addresses this task from the point of view of theological ethics and religious studies. Part One of this collection provides a solid foundation for defining human dignity and promoting human rights. Part Two demonstrates how this foundation can be applied to current and pressing ethical, legal, and theological issues confronting humanity, by addressing four exemplary issues (homosexuality, gender, migrants, and climate change). Combined, these essays point a way forward for the ongoing development of a comprehensive, comprehensible, consistent, and credible definition of human dignity and human rights and their role in addressing ongoing ethical, legal, and theological issues.

JRAT 5 (2/2019): Religion, Community, Borders: Social Imaginaries and the Challenge of Pluralism

The 21st century so far has turned out to be a time of crossroads. On the one hand, neoliberal globalization continues to shape the way in which people, thoughts, ideas flow and interconnect. On the other hand, nationally or culturally oriented identifications are on the rise. This issue of the Journal for Religion and Transformation addresses how these junctions between the liquidity and the tenacity of borders determine the way in which the present and its “sense” is imagined, with a particular emphasis on the role of religious and secular worldviews. The issue consists of ten articles; each of them departs from the framework of social imaginaries theory, and explores how the current interdisciplinary scholarship on social imaginaries, whether theoretical or empirical, may contribute to the study of this double bind of fluid as well as solid borders that seems to be one of the hallmarks of our era. The aim of the authors is to reboot the conceptual understanding of borders and of the crises they bring about. In particular, the authors focus on the way in which borders are imagined as outlines of old and new communities, as these communities feed on religious and secular worldview traditions.

This issue was published in collaboration with the international consortium SIMAGINE (based at the University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht; members from the Universities of Cambridge, Boulder, Bloemfontein, Amsterdam, Brussels, Vienna).

JRAT 5 (1/2019): Religious Experience, Secular Reason and Politics around 1900. Sources of the Contemporary Turn to Spirituality

The emergence of a scholarly and popular interest in religious experience, spirituality and mysticism around 1900 plays a crucial role in the further transformations in religion in the twentieth century and in contemporary Western and non-Western societies. This volume contains philosophical reflections on the emergence of these new constellations, discourses and practices. The ‘rediscovery’ of the various spiritual and mystical sources and traditions, and the turn towards the individual’s religious experiences, can be situated against the background of a growing critique of global scientific positivism and the rise of secular (atheistic, Marxist) philosophies. The turn to spirituality and mysticism is associated with political projects of anti-imperialist emancipation in for example, India, the Islamic countries, Russia and Latin-America. Through philosophical inquiries into key authors such as Bergson, Blondel, James, Heidegger, Bremond, Weil, Solov’ëv, Rodó, Iqbal and Vivekenanda, this volume presents a comprehensive perspective on the fundamental issues and discussions that inspired the turn to spirituality in a modern era of secular reason.

JRAT 4 (2/2018): The Crisis of Representation

The term “Crisis of Representation” rose to fame through Michel Foucault. The crisis, in the context of this issue, has not only a political and economic dimension, but a cultural, aesthetic and religious one as well. Thus, a serious inquiry into this complex and multidimensional phenomenon requires an interdisciplinary approach. The issue targets the phenomena at hand through 15 contributions – all with unique and innovative approaches to the topic. One common aim that holds the issue together is the analysis of the nature of the crisis, which helps to find suitable theoretical frameworks. On the other hand, the term itself functions as a tool that enables the analysis of specific societal developments. Contributing authors brought with them expertise from their respective fields including philosophy, political sciences, theology, Islamic studies and religious studies. This allowed for a cross-disciplinary approach on the phenomenon with special foci on politics, religions, societies and finance, as well as theoretical developments on current philosophical and post-colonial discourses.

JRAT 4 (1/2018): Moralities of Warfare and Religion

The articles of the sixth issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society (JRAT) debate war morals and religion from a longterm historical perspective. The issue brings together researchers from various sciences – history, theology, literary studies, philosophy, and sociology – in order to present recent insights into theories and experiences of war with special emphasis on religion. By focusing on the commitment of combatants and commitments to enhance peace, the contributors provide new insights from a fresh and still unusual perspective. They will spur further discussion of moral commitment in war ethics, the role of religion in war, and of the prospect of peace ethics. Religion played a major role in the life of combatants and non-combatants in WWI, the “seminal catastrophe” (George Kennan) of the 20th century. Religion remains a multi-faceted and steady aspect of warfare that, in some respects, serves as a peace-enhancing worldview.




JRAT 3 (2/2017): Religion, Transformation and Gender

This issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society (JRAT) centers on the topic of religion, transformation and sex/gender. The focal point will be on religious and cultural transformation processes and their repercussions on gender roles, constructs and representations on the one hand, and on sex and/or gender transformations which are embedded in the context of specific religious traditions on the other. Transformation is understood here as change, alteration and reformatting. The multifaceted connections between religion, transformation and sex/gender are concretized in an abundance of material and symbolic phenomena and are examined starting from different subject-specific and methodical approaches.




JRAT 3 (1/2017) Religion and Migration

In recent years, the topic of religion in the context of migration has become a major issue in society and politics. Since autumn 2015, the beginning of the so called “migration-crisis” in Europe, also European academic discourse intensifies its research on this highly controversial topic. The 4th issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society (JRAT) discusses diverse occurring phenomena within this area from an interdisciplinary perspective. Experts on religious, political and educational science – from demography and theology as well as representatives from Christianity and Islam – reflect transformation-processes on diaspora communities and subjective religiosities, the discourse on religion and migration in political science and the contribution of theology and religious institutions to the challenges of flight and migration. The contributions offer empirical insights into the plural religious field of Europe, which is being transformed intensively by migration.



JRAT 2 (2/2016): Religious Fundamentalism

Fundamentalism is a crucial and inevitable key topic in present society. Although there have been increasing debates about religious fundamentalism during the last years, an interdisciplinary and systematical investigation of the theoretical backgrounds of fundamentalism, its consequences for global politics and its essential meaning for a networked society is still missing. The third volume of the Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society (JRAT) examines current forms of religious fundamentalism in different religions. Due to current events, main topics are Islamic fundamentalism, Jihadism and the relationship between fundamentalism and the internet, as well as the challenge of fundamentalism for religious education. Moreover, a great part of contributions focuses on critical resources against religious fundamentalism, not least within religious traditions.



JRAT 2 (1/2016): Institutional Responses to Religious Diversity

The second volume puts a focus on institutional responses to religious diversity. The articles deal with a wide range of institutions, including the hospital, the military, the prison, the Catholic Church and state institutions. Contributions to this special issue cover different European contexts (Spain, Fanrce, UK, Belgium, Germany, Austria) and investigate challenges of inner-confessional diversity as well as institutional responses to religious pluralization.



JRAT 1 (1/2015): Religion in a post-secular world

The first edition of the Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society (JRAT) is especially dedicated to the theme of religion in a post-secular world with a view to analysing the diverse interactions between social transformation processes and religions not only in post-secular European contexts, but also within the broader framework of globalisation. In particular, it examines the different meanings and aspects of the categories of secularisation and post-secularisation in different cultural contexts in order to present analogies and differences within today´s global processes from different academic perspectives.

In addition to the aforementioned focus topic, contribuions also analyse the paradigmatic changes in our symbolic cultural orders to juridical, societal cultural, political, theological and religious-philosophical challenges and how they relate to religious transformations.



Publication schedule

  • Religion and Disease – edited by Rüdiger Lohlker, to be published in December 2021

Furthermore, in alphabetical order without a set time schedule:

  • From Syncretism to Hybridity – edited by Gerald Hödl and Bettina Schmidt
  • Gods and the Digital – edited by Gemma Serrano and Alessandro de Cesaris
  • Reactivation and Transformation of Ancient Religions in the Contemporary World – edited by Samim Akgönül and Anne-Laure Zwilling
  • The Illusion of the Obvious – edited by Cornelia Richter