The first network meeting of the Card Network took place on the 24-25 May 2013.
22 scholars from around the world met and discussed how to conduct research on religious diversity in a critical manner. Religious diversity is a concept which is often used interchangeably or in interplay with related concepts like religious pluralism, religious plurality, multi-religion or multi-faith. What are the consequences of applying these different terms and what happens if religious isn’t singled out but instead seen as a dimension of multiculturalism or general diversity or even superdiversity? The study of religious diversity also raises questions of how religious and religion is defined and who gets to define what counts as religion? And is religious diversity related to the existence of a diversity of religious organizations, religious traditions or religious individuals? Furthermore, in empirical studies there is always the question of research design and methods. Specific methods allow the researcher to see some things while overlooking other. A topic of huge political salience there is also the issue of how the political environment and media constructions of diversity may influence the study. All these issues and more where discussed at the meeting. A critical approach to religious diversity requires awareness and self-reflexivity of the necessary choices being made in a research project. There is not one right way to study religious diversity, but there are more research projects which are more considerate, more deliberate and simply better thought out. In order to encourage better – and more critical – research on religious diversity a check list was produced. It can be used as a catalogue of issues worth considering when embarking on empirical studies of religious diversity.