Theorizing Religion as Politics in Postsecular International Relations

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    This article reconsiders the political dimensions of religious activity in light of a supposedly emerging post-secular society. I argue that limited understandings of both religion and politics restrict the capacity of scholars and faith-based actors alike to perceive the signifi- cant influence that religious actions and rituals can have in the political realm. The article out- lines the dimensions of a post-secular society, drawing on the work of Jürgen Habermas, alongside recent critiques of his work by International Relations scholars. It then investigates existing approaches to understanding religion and politics within International Relations, putting forward an alternative framework for analysing the religious and the political in a post-secular society, before turning to an exploration of the activities of faith-based actors in the asylum sector in Australia. The article highlights the ways in which predominantly religious activities, such as prayer, charity and hospitality to the stranger, can have significant political implications, both in the immediate and in the long-term. Scholars, policy makers and faith- based actors themselves need to develop more nuanced understandings of how religious actions take on political meaning, intended and unintended, in order to appreciate the growing influence of faith-based actors in post-secular societies.
    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)347-365
    Aantal pagina's19
    TijdschriftPolitics, Religion & Ideology
    Volume15
    Nummer van het tijdschrift3
    StatusPublished - 2014

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