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Catholic crowd action: the violent protest over public religion in Europe, 1864-1914

During the period 1864–1914, the European countryside saw repeated conflicts over public religion that pitted people, who wished to preserve the influence of religious culture in everyday life as well as the power of the Roman-Catholic Church against those seeking to expand and consolidate secular space. These ›battles over belief‹ were not only the subject of parliamentary discourses or debates among members of the clergy, but had repercussions on local life. The project of Eveline G. Bouwers probes this local impact. Using a microhistorical and comparative approach it questions how people, who had little to no influence on political decision-making processes responded to the ›struggle over God‹ in their day-to-day lives and queries what role violent protest playing in shaping this conflict. It analyses the motives, strategies and legitimation practices of individual protesters and probes the interdependence of religious and secular conflict. Drawing on case-studies from Bavaria, Brittany and Flanders, the project aims to show how Catholic crowd action not just influenced the conflict over public religion, but also contributed to the transformation of the political space in post-revolutionary Europe more broadly.