Disciplining Religion: The Role of the State and Its Consequences on Democracy

Author: Jocelyne Cesari

July 1, 2016

In this article, published as part of the Journal of Religious and Political Practice's special issue on "Religion and Politics: Bringing the State Back," Jocelyne Cesari explores the concept of hegemonic religion and its relationship with democracy. This concept entails not only a certain type of institutional relationship between state and religion but, more importantly, a kind of national culture with religion at its core. Utilizing Norbert Elias’s figurational sociology, Cesari analyzes how postcolonial states have built a national habitus that plays a decisive role in the politicization of religion. The article focuses on examples from Islam and Buddhism and discusses how hegemonic types of politicized religions have negative impacts on democracy.

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