Social Imaginaries between Secularity and Religion in a Globalizing World (SIMAGINE)


The delicate relationship between religion and secular modernity is an exemplary element of 21st century societies: of their social and cultural ‘super-diversity’ caused by globalization. The many encounters and confrontations within and between groups and individuals refer to what has been coined as their social imaginaries. These are shared implicit sets of assumptions, often involving moral or religious claims about the society one is part of: claims about the values of society and about how it should be organized. Social imaginaries do not refer to explicit doctrines or beliefs but to the concrete and contingent way communities imagine their background assumptions and ideals. Hence, social imaginaries are ‘lived spaces’ in which people share as well as contest the meaning of their existence.

The central research question of the project is:
What can the concept of social imaginaries contribute to the analysis - in current cultural theory, religious studies and globalization theory - of societies that are interculturally super-diverse and display complex blends of existential frameworks, with both secular and religious features?
Starting from this question the project will develop its research along theoretical and empirical lines, focusing on social imaginaries in urban and in virtual environments against the background of globalization.

SIMAGINE will develop an international research consortium of ten relevant partners forming an interdisciplinary network, that aims for joint research and academic as well as public interventions and publications, for the organization of seminars and symposia, and for a larger fully elaborated application in 2019.


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. L. ten Kate

Affiliated with

Universiteit voor Humanistiek


01/07/2017 to 31/08/2019