Leila Alieva is a CARA/IFK_Fellow, and a Senior Common Room member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, where she previously was an academic visitor and a fellow of Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA)/Scholars Rescue Fund (SRF).
Following a constructivist approach, this research addresses the relation between the religious and the secular in the modern nation-state, particularly in regard to transformations of religion alongside state policies and political regimes. The study analyzes religious discourse and examines how religion and secularity are reconciled at the individual level via interviews conducted in four regions of Azerbaijan, each with distinct ethnic and religious populations. The survey reveals attitudes toward the sources of religious radicalism, possibilities for religious reforms, the compatibility of democracy and Islam, and other insights into the positions of both ordinary believers and religious and political leaders. These considerations reveal the role of the nation-state as a mediator in shaping dichotomous differences and defining identities while also explicating personal strategies of avoiding traps of limited social space through symbolism and the dynamic and fluid nature of multiple identities.