2023/ 2024

Marietta van der Tol

"Legitimate aims": security, identity, and religion in Europe

Marietta van der Tol specialises in the comparative study of politics, law, and religion. She is college lecturer in politics at Lincoln College and postdoctoral research fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. Her research focusses on the position of ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities in European constitutional systems, with particular reference to historical, religious, and legal legacies of toleration. Her book Constitutional Intolerance: The Fahioning of the Other in European Constitutional Systems will appear with Cambridge University Press in 2024.

Marietta convenes several networks that critically engage populism, nationalism, and democracy, as well as political theology, bridging conversations between academics, politicians, journalists, and religious organisations. Relevant outputs include ‘Secularisation as the fragmentation of the sacred and of sacred space’, published in Religion, State, Society in 2022, as well as her doctoral thesis, ‘Politics of religious diversity: toleration, religious freedom and visibility of religion in public space’ (Cambridge), which explored expressions of tolerance and intolerance in contemporary constitutional law and politics in France, Germany and the Netherlands.


"Legitimate aims": security, identity, and religion in Europe

Legacies of toleration persist in constitutional arrangements that affect preferred and
non-preferred religious institutions in many European states. The rise of right-wing
populism has proliferated legislation aimed at ethno-religious and religious minorities,
and they increasingly conflate constitutional norms and societal sentiments. This project
studies references to “legitimate aims” in relation to the freedom of religion and belief
in a range of European jurisdictions, including France, Hungary, and Latvia. It will reflect
on the intersection of security and identity in legislative proposals and Parliamentary
history, and consider the social and political effects of such arguments on the place of
non-preferred religious institutions in public life.