Sub-Project 3: The Changing Roles of Religion and Modern Society, exemplified by the Phenomena “Ultramontanism” and “Catholic Milieu”

Prof. Dr. Markus Ries

In view of interior social pluralising processes and the forming of sub-societies in the 19th century, sub-project 3 investigates the role religion played in these different areas and how this role has changed. Although religion had continuously developed until the pre-modern era, the transitions into the 19th century changed the framework conditions completely: Societies in this age were characterised by new mentalities; power and legal relationships, economic conditions of life and cultural orientations underwent dramatic changes during a period of only two generations. The Catholic Church moved into two directions: On the one hand efforts were made to anchor religion in the new social environment, on the other hand rejection and refusal was common. As a revolt against modernity conservative Catholics gathered in a particular social milieu characterised by specific structures which thus functioned as a fixed framework. Religion served as a bracket, embracing a specific world-view and as an institutional identity marker. At the same time it continued to be a parameter for individual and collective lifestyles. This sub-project wants to analyse and describe the shift of meaning religion underwent in the “catholic milieu” between the crisis in 1830 and the Kulturkampf.