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

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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