Political Islam and International Relations Theory

Author: Jocelyne Cesari

July 16, 2021

Scholars of political science tend to address religion as either an independent or dependent variable. This chapter contends that the role of religion in politics is better understood as a continuous set of interactions between institutions, actors, and ideas in different national and international contexts. The scale to conduct this investigation on religion is not the individual but the community level. In this respect, the chapter suggests going back to the basics of sociology to approach religion as a societal community. It is then easier to capture tensions or alliances between religious communities and the modern political community, such as the nation. The chapter applies this approach to the understanding of political Islam in international relations through the examples of Turkey and Egypt. This chapter by Jocelyne Cesari was published in the Handbook on Religion and International Affairs, part of the Elgar Handbooks in Political Science series.

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