The Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano (LdA) is a non profit research institution in the field of international and development economics based at Fondazione Luigi Einaudi in Torino and at the Department of Economics of the University of Milan. LdA, through a network of Italian and international institutions and researchers, promotes and carries out research programmes covering issues like foreign investments and diffusion of technologies, international trade and trade policy, migration and labour markets, household behaviour and rural institutions in developing countries. LdA also supports graduate students and post doctoral fellows working in its major fields of research.

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The Thirteenth Luca d’Agliano Lecture in Development Economics on “Religion, Politics, and Development: Is Islam a Special Issue?” will be held by Jean-Philippe Platteau (University of Namur) on Friday November 20th 2015 at 5 p.m. at the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi, Turin.


In 2002, the American Islamologue Bernard Lewis wrote a well-known book entitled «What is Wrong with Islam?». The answer provided in this book is that the problem with Islam is the historical merging between religion and politics since the times of its foundation. The implication is that politics is surrendered to religion, giving rise to sorts of permanent theocracies. In this talk, I wish to take the opposite standpoint, namely that in the lands of Islam, during normal circumstances it is religion that is submitted to politics rather than the other way round. It is only in times of state crisis that religion comes to the fore and tends to supersede politics. Because of a special institutional characteristic of Islam, the fact that it has never possessed a centralized church structure, interventions by the clerics may, or may not, improve upon the chaotic predicament  born of a weak state. Special attention will be paid to concrete country examples, such as Iran, Pakistan, Algeria and Egypt. Moreover, I will attempt to precise not only the contrasts but also the similarities between Islam and Christianity.

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