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Protestant minorities in European states and nations

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Little attention has been paid in the recent scholarly literature to Europe's old religious conflicts - particularly those that stem from the Reformation. Yet for a long time religiously informed conflict was the principal source of internal state division and the major perceived threat to state stability and security. This article looks at the institutional changes and cultural renegotiations that allowed traditional religious oppositions, rivalries and conflicts to fade in most contemporary European societies. Focusing on the Czech, French and Irish cases, it argues that neither modernisation, democratisation nor secularisation were enough to resolve deep-set tensions. The long-term resolutions involved a restructuring of polity and nation in a way consistent with minority, as well as majority, culture. In the past - and perhaps also in the present - such opportunities were rare and demanded choice, strategy and political fortune.
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Keywords: Reformation divisions; democratisation; minority-majority relations; religious conflicts; states

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University College Cork, Ireland

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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