An Introduction to Religion and Politics

Theory and Practice

By Jonathan Fox

© 2013 – Routledge

262 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2012-10-18
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About the Book

An Introduction to Religion and Politics offers a comprehensive overview of the many theories of religion and politics, and provides students with an accessible but in-depth account of the most significant debates, issues and methodologies. Fox examines the ways in which religion influences politics, analyses the current key issues and provides a state of the art account of religion and politics, highlighting the diversity in state religion policies around the world.

Topics covered include:

  • Secularism and secularization
  • Religious identity
  • Religious worldviews, beliefs, doctrines and theologies
  • Religious legitimacy
  • Religious institutions and mobilization
  • Rational and functional religion
  • Religious fundamentalism
  • Conflict, violence and terror

This work combines theoretical analysis with data on the religion policies of 177 governments, showing that while most of the world's government support religion and many restrict it; true neutrality on the issue of religion is extremely rare. Religion is becoming an inescapable issue in politics.

This work will be essential reading for all students of religion and politics, and will also be of great interest to those studying related subjects such as comparative politics, international relations and war and conflict studies.

Reviews

For far too long, we have labored without a text that unifies social scientific treatments of religion and politics. Fox's An Introduction to Religion and Politics is a theoretical tour de force, providing a broad and deep survey of the major theories of religious presence in politics, tested with his Religion and the State dataset and carefully chosen case studies throughout. It is highly relevant and readable and will serve as a critical reference tool.

Paul A. Djupe, Denison University

'Jonathan Fox has pulled off a difficult double achievement in this book. First, he has persuasively presented arguments that cover the many ways that religion and politics can connect, and the outcomes when they do. Second, he has set out the information in a way that will be appreciated by university students (and others) who have an interest in the topic. In short, this is an excellent book and Fox will find that many people appreciate the clarity and rigour with which he has presented the evidence.'

Professor Jeffrey Haynes, Associate Dean and Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion, Conflict and Cooperation, Faculty of Law, Governance and International Relations, London Metropolitan University

Jonathan Fox, one of the discipline's foremost experts in the study of religion and politics, has crafted an eloquent yet accessible guide to the comparative study of religion and politics. Fox provides a coherent framework that traces policies to their sources in identities, belief systems, concerns of legitimacy and institutions, complemented with contemporary illustrations, analyses of hot-button controversies and carefully selected evidence. Students and scholars alike will find this volume informative, provocative and compelling."

Ron E. Hassner, University of California Berkeley, author of War on Sacred Grounds

"Jonathan Fox has a long track record of helping us make sense of the complex relationship between the religious and the political. In An Introduction to Religion and Politics, he again shows why he is one of the leading scholars of the subject. Weaving together diverse theories into a coherent framework and distilling mounds of comparative data, Fox has written a brilliant textbook that is destined to be essential reading—for students and scholars alike."

Ronald R. Krebs, University of Minnesota

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Part I: Theories of Religion and Politics 2. Secularization and Secularism 3. Religious Identity 4. Religious Worldviews, Beliefs, Doctrines, and Theologies 5. Religious Legitimacy 6. Religious Institutions and Political Mobilization 7. Rational and Functional Religion 8. Religious Fundamentalism 9. Religion and Conflict Part II: The Religion Policies of 175 Governments 10. Christian Majority States I: Western Democracies and the former Soviet Bloc 11. Christian States II: The Third World 12. Muslim Majority States 13. Other Religions 14. Conclusions

About the Author

Jonathan Fox is a Professor of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. He has published extensively on religion and politics.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Religion and Politics

This series aims to publish high quality works on the topic of the resurgence of political forms of religion in both national and international contexts. This trend has been especially noticeable in the post-cold war era (that is, since the late 1980s). It has affected all the ‘world religions’ (including, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism) in various parts of the world (such as, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa).

The series welcomes books that use a variety of approaches to the subject, drawing on scholarship from political science, international relations, security studies, and contemporary history.

Books in the series explore these religions, regions and topics both within and beyond the conventional domain of ‘church-state’ relations to include the impact of religion on politics, conflict and development, including the late Samuel Huntington’s controversial – yet influential – thesis about ‘clashing civilisations’.

In sum, the overall purpose of the book series is to provide a comprehensive survey of what is currently happening in relation to the interaction of religion and politics, both domestically and internationally, in relation to a variety of issues.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POL000000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / General
POL011000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General