Religion in International Relations Theory
Interactions and Possibilities
Routledge – 2013 – 228 pages
There is a growing realization among international relations scholars and practitioners that religion is a critical factor in global politics. The Iranian Revolution, the September 11 attacks, the ethno-religious conflicts such as the ones in the former Yugoslavia and Sri Lanka are among the many reasons for this increased focus on religion in international affairs. The rise of religious political parties across the world ranging from the Christian Democrats in Europe to Bharatiya Janata Party in India similarly illustrated religion's heightened international profile.
Despite all this attention, it is challenging to situate religion within a discipline which has been dominantly secular from its inception. Only a few existent works have ventured to integrate religion into core international relations theories such as Classical Realism, Neorealism, Neoliberalism, Constructivism and the English school. This work is the first systematic attempt to comparatively assess the place of religion in the aforementioned theoretical strands of international relations with contemporary examples from around the world.
Written in an accessible and systematic fashion, this book will be an important addition to the fields of both religion and international relations.
Nukhet A. Sandal is Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Ohio University.
Jonathan Fox is Professor in the Department of Political Studies at Bar Ilan University, Israel.
This book is impressive; it fills a gaping void in international relations theory. While we have been opening IR theory to domestic politics, a sorely neglected area has been the important role of religion's impact on international events. All of the important IR theories are analyzed with respect to the manner in which religion is accommodated. Both the historical depth of the individual treatments and their analytic acuity are outstanding. The past several decades have pushed religion to the forefront of issues facing decision makers and IR scholars. This book is a must read for anyone interested in these salient issues.
Manus Midlarsky, Moses and Annuta Back Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Rutgers University (Author of Origins of Political Extremism: Mass Violence in the Twentieth Century and Beyond)
This is a book on theory that is surprisingly compulsive reading - bringing religion even into neorealism, or game theory, you wonder how are Sandal and Fox going to do it? What is particularly valuable is the way that they show that religion matters in international relations in ways that are far broader, more pervasive, and important than when religion is simplified or reduced to 'religious fundamentalism' in international relations. A wide variety of people take religion seriously in a wide variety of ways that is unlikely to go away anytime soon. The book probes tenaciously many of the key concepts, assumptions, and possible connections to religion in each of the main theories, paradigms, or traditions of thought in international relations. It does so in ways that will help all of us - regardless of our theoretical or methodological commitments, to think more systematically about the ways religion has an impact on international relations. One is tempted to say there is a deep ecumenism in the book, about what we can all learn from each others' approaches, at a time when many scholars, each with their different theoretical approaches, are like ships passing in the night. This may be why the book also helps open up a variety of new pathways of research, many of which calls for further research and elaboration, and so the book is going to be essential reading for the next generation of scholars of religion and international relations
Scott Thomas, Senior Lecturer in International Relations and the Politics of Developing Countries, University of Bath (author of The Global Resurgence of Religion and the Transformation of International Relations)
For over a decade now, a vibrant community of scholars working on religion and politics has emerged and has been growing rapidly. Few, though, have sought to ask systematically whether and how religion can be studied fruitfully through the reigning theories of international relations. The wait is over. Nukhet Sandal, a rising star in this area, teams up with Jonathan Fox, one of this community of scholars’ founding and longstanding leaders, to show thoroughly and systematically how religion can indeed be integrated into international relations theory. They have done a great service to everyone working on the subject.
Daniel Philpott, Associate Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies, Notre Dame University (Author of Just and Unjust Peace: An Ethic of Political Reconciliation and Revolutions in Sovereignty: How Ideas Shaped Modern International Relations)
1. Religions, paradigms and international relations 2. Religion and its influence in the international arena 3. Religion and classical realism: interactions within power politics 4. Religion and Constructivism in IR Theory 5. Religion and neorealism: interactions within the international system 6. Religion and neoliberalism: interactions within the market of ideas 7. Religion and the english school: interactions within the international society 8. Religion and ir theory: interactions and prospects