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Negotiating religious difference: protest and violence in Bavaria, Brittany and Flanders, 1864-1914

During the period 1864-1914, rural Europe witnessed several conflicts between people, who wished to preserve the influence of religious culture and the Roman-Catholic Church in everyday life and those desirous to expand and consolidate the secular space. Such ›battles over belief‹ were not only the subject of parliamentary or clerical debate, but had repercussions on local life. The project of Eveline G. Bouwers asks into this local impact. Using a microhistorical approach it questions how people, who had little to no influence on political decision-making processes responded to the ›struggle over God‹ in everyday live and queries what role protest and violence playing in shaping conflict. It analyses the motives, strategies and legitimation practices of individual protesters and probes the interdependence of religious and secular differences. Drawing on case-studies from Bavaria, Brittany and Flanders, the project aims to show how crowd action not just influenced the negotiation, regulation and the overcoming of religious difference, but also contributed to the transformation of the political space in post-revolutionary Europe more broadly.