Religion and Democratisation: When and How It Matters

July 1, 2016

In this editorial, published as part of the Journal of Religious and Political Practice's special issue on "Religion and Politics: Bringing the State Back," Jocelyne Cesari introduces a series of papers that seek to contribute to the growing literature on the role of religion in democratization, specifically focusing on interactions between the state and religion. Although religion may not be the most significant factor in democratization, it still has the power to influence the building of new institutions, the legal status of civil liberties, and patterns of political participation, all of which are important factors when it comes to the consolidation of democracy. Moreover, in order to capture the specific role of religion in democratic or political changes, it is necessary to move away from the dichotomy of state and religion and explore more deeply the interactions between state and religious organizations and actors. Consequently, Cesari maintains that the often-assumed antagonism between the two represents only one form of interaction, which may be used or combined with competition, adaptation, and cooperation.

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