2nd Edition

An Introduction to Religion and Politics Theory and Practice

By Jonathan Fox Copyright 2018
    252 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    252 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This fully revised edition offers a comprehensive overview of the many theories of religion and politics and provides students with an accessible, in-depth guide to the subject’s most significant debates, issues, and methodologies.

    It begins by asking the basic questions of how social scientists see religion and why religion remains relevant to politics in the modern era. Fox examines the influence of religious identity, beliefs, institutions and legitimacy on politics, and surveys important approaches and issues found in the literature on religion and politics. Four new chapters on religious policy around the world, political secularism, and religious freedom and human rights have been added to fully revised content covering religious identity, rational choice approaches to religious politics worldviews, beliefs, doctrines, ideologies, institutions and political mobilization, fundamentalism, secularization, and religion and conflict.

    This work will be essential reading for all students of religion and politics, comparative politics, international relations, and security studies.

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    • Approaches to the Study of Religion and Politics
    • A Social Science Approach to Religion
    • The Religion and State Dataset
    • Religious Discrimination vs. Religious Freedom
    • A Note on Methodology and Citations
    • Conclusions

    Chapter 2: Secularization and Functionalism: Predictions of Religion’s Decline, and Irrelevance

    • Classic Secularization Theory
    • Religion's Resurgence?
    • The Evolution of Secularization Theory
    • Moving Past Secularization Theory
    • Functionalism
    • Critiques of Functionalism
    • Religion as a Tool vs. as an Independent Force in Political Science Theory
    • The Doctrine of Religion’s Irrelevance
    • Secularization, Functionalism, Religion and Political Science Theory
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 3: Religious Identity

    • Is Religious Identity Unique?
    • The Origins of Religious Identity in Politics
    • Religious Identity and Tolerance
    • Religious Identity and Democracy
    • Religious Identity and Conflict
    • Political Opinions, Voting, and Beyond
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 4: Religious Worldviews, Beliefs, Doctrines, and Theologies

    • Religion as a Basis for Understanding the World
    • Religious Rules and Standards of Behavior
    • Political Manifestations of Religious Worldviews Beliefs and Ideologies
    • Religious Actors
    • Belief vs. Identity
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 5: Religious Legitimacy

    • Religion as a Justification for Anything
    • The Evolving Role of Religious Legitimacy in Government
    • The Political Uses of Religious Legitimacy

    • The Limits of Religious Legitimacy Discussion Questions
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 6: Religious Institutions and Political Mobilization

    • Religious Institutions and Political Resource Mobilization
    • Religion and the "Free Rider" Problem
    • The Downside of Religious-Based Mobilization
    • When Do Religious Institutions Mobilize?
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 7: Rational Religion

    • Functionalism and Rational Choice
    • The Supply Side Theory
    • Religious Liberty and Rational Calculation
    • The Interests of Religious Institutions
    • Rational Actor Theories in Perspective
    • Religion and the Economy
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 8: Religious Fundamentalism

    • What is Fundamentalism?
    • Why is Fundamentalism Politically Relevant?
    • Radicals, Extremists, and Deviants?
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 9: Religion and Conflict

    • Religious Worldviews, Beliefs, Doctrines, and Ideologies
    • Religious Legitimacy
    • Religious Institutions
    • Fundamentalists and Violent Conflict
    • Religious Terror
    • Messianic Violence
    • Recruitment
    • Are Religious Conflicts Different?
    • Religion and Peace
    • It is Not Just Religion
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 10: Government Religion Policy 1: Official Policies and Supporting Religion

    • What is Government Policy?
    • Official Policy
    • Motivations for Supporting Religion
    • Types of Support for Religion
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 11: Government Religion Policy 2: Restrictions, Regulation, Control and Discrimination

    • Regulation, Restriction, and Control
    • Religious Discrimination in Theory
    • Religious Discrimination in Practice
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 12: Political Secularism

    • What do "Secular" and Secularism Mean?
    • Defining Political Secularism
    • Families of Political Secular Ideologies
    • Secular-Religious Competition
    • A Complex Competition
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 13: Religious Freedom

    • Official Religious Freedom
    • The Multiple Meanings of Religious Freedom
    • The Complexity of Religious Freedom
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 14: Religion in International Relations

    • Secularization, and Ignoring Religion
    • Religious Identity
    • Religious Legitimacy
    • Religious Institutions and Mobilization
    • Transnational Religious Institutions and other Religious Actors
    • Transnational Religious Issues and Phenomena
    • Faith-Based Diplomacy
    • Religious Worldviews, Ideologies and Beliefs
    • Conclusions
    • Discussion Questions
    • Further Readings

    Chapter 15: Conclusions

    • Linking Theory and Practice
    • A Theoretical Framework to Comprehend Religion and Politics


    Jonathan Fox is the Yehuda Avner Professor of Religion and Politics in the Political Studies Department at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, the director of the Religion and State Project, and the recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Religion and International Relations section of the International Studies Organization (ISA). He has published extensively on religion and politics.

    "This revised and reorganized edition of the Fox volume makes this work the standard introduction to politics and religion. An Introduction to Religion and Politics (2nd edition) covers virtually all of the major approaches to the study of religion and politics, and is both accessible to beginning students and a valuable resource for serious academic analysts. Quite simply, it has become the dominant text in the comparative field." - Ted G. Jelen, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

    "An Introduction to Religion and Politics is an outstanding step beyond the high quality first edition. Fox, a leading scholar, offers a tour de force on subjects ranging from religious freedom to government regulation of faith. The book is distinguished by its comprehensiveness, notably intellectual breadth and topical range." - Patrick James, Dornsife Dean’s Professor, School of International Relations, University of Southern California

    "Any student who seeks a foundation of knowledge about religion and global politics, in using this revised text, will be learning at the feet of one of the pioneers and masters of the field. Professor Fox leaves no stone unturned in covering both the theory and practice of religion in global politics in today's world." - Daniel Philpott, Professor, University of Notre Dame, Indiana.