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April 19 , 2010

Religion and Political Change in the Modern World


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.

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