The purpose of the book is to ascertain whether there is a generic impact that ‘religion’ brings to bear on recent political changes in the modern world. Over the last two decades or so, there have been increasing numbers of political issues with which various manifestations of religion engage. This impact is not restricted exclusively to countries in the ‘developed’ or ‘developing’ world. Instead, we seem to be seeing a widespread impact of religion on politics which defies earlier assumptions about secularisation. This presumed that the more ‘modern’ a country is then the less likely it is that religion will play a significant political role. Recent evidence is, however, firmly to the contrary: the degree of ‘modernity’ in a country does not correspond well with the amount of ‘religiosity’ in a country, nor with the role that religion can play in politics.
The book focuses on the recent return of religion to politics. It assesses how religion is involved in recent examples of political change in various countries, including the impact of religion on democratization. The book features both theoretical chapters and case studies. The case studies examine different countries (Israel, Egypt, Morocco, and Iran) and regions (Sub-Saharan Africa), with a focus on Islam, Judaism and Protestantism and Catholicism. The overall aim is to get a sense of what is happening when religion and politics interact.
The chapters in this book were originally published in Democratization.
1. Introduction: Religion and Political Change in the Modern World Jeffrey Haynes Part 1: Theoretical and Conceptual Issues 2. 'Did Protestantism create democracy? Steve Bruce 3. Unfinished business: the Catholic Church, communism, and democratization Lan T. Chu 4. Does faith limit immorality? The politics of religion and corruption Udi Sommer, Pazit Ben Nun-Bloom and Gizem Arikan 5. Political Islam in the Mediterranean: the view from democratization studies Frederic Volpi Part 2: Case Studies 6. Religion and democratization in Africa Jeffrey Haynes 7. Bullets over ballots: Islamist groups, the state and electoral violence in Egypt and Morocco Francesco Cavatorta and Hendrik Kraettzschmar 8. Islamic reformation discourses: popular sovereignty and religious secularisation in Iran Naser Ghobadzadeh and Lily Zubaidah Rahim 9. The religious experience as affecting ambivalence: the case of democratic performance in Israel Pazit Ben Nun-Bloom, Mina Zemach and Asher Arian (deceased)
The journal, Democratization, emerged in 1994, during ‘the third wave of democracy’, a period which saw democratic transformation of dozens of regimes around the world. Over the last decade or so, the journal has published a number of special issues as books, each of which has focused upon cutting edge issues linked to democratization. Collectively, they underline the capacity of democratization to induce debate, uncertainty, and perhaps progress towards better forms of politics, focused on the achievement of the democratic aspirations of men and women everywhere.