Politics and Religion in the Modern World

Politics and Religion in the Modern World

Politics and Religion in the Modern World

Politics and Religion in the Modern World

Synopsis

Despite the commonly held Western view that secularisation has taken religion out of the political sphere, the relationship between religion and politics is at the heart of many of the critical issues of our time. The role of the church in nationalist movements in Eastern Europe, and the influence of Islam on Middle Eastern politics are two clear examples. Politics and Religion in the Modern World sets out to examine what makes religion and politics such a potent combination in countries around the world. It is an important analysis of the relationship between religion and politics, which will be recommended reading for students of political science, religious studies, and sociology.

Excerpt

Political science, like most academic disciplines, tends to focus research according to fashion. There are, in any given period, areas of the subject that receive a lot of attention, and those which attract less. The study of religion and politics, in these terms, has moved rapidly in recent years from one of neglect to one of relatively intense scrutiny. Institutionally, one can see this in the swelling of the research committees and papers delivered at professional meetings both nationally and internationally. But this is, I suggest, no more than its due. Twenty years ago, a writer suggested that however imprudent it might seem to grapple with the complexities of the relationship between religion and politics, its importance demanded such an endeavour. Today, this is even more clear, and fortunately, it is being recognized. In contradiction to those in the western world who thought that secularization had removed religion from the realm of political affairs, it has remained a vital force. In First, Second and Third Worlds, one can find in most countries evidence that religion still has a substantial imprint, worthy of critical scrutiny.

This volume is a contribution to that task. Its theme, ‘politics and religion in the modern world’, captures its goal—to undertake a survey of the field of religion and politics over the last half century. This is, obviously, an ambitious task for one book. Inevitably, therefore, it cannot be definitive. The regions and countries covered are selective. Nevertheless, by focusing on key areas and countries, the authors collectively provide a substantial commentary on what has happened, and is happening, to religion and politics in the world today. Many of the contributions provide a holistic regional focus, such as on Latin America and Eastern Europe, to give a broad perspective. But they also incorporate detailed case studies of given . . .

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