DescriptionIslamic fundamentalists wreck the financial heart of New York; Hindus destroy a mosque at Ayodhya; Orthodox Jews battle Palestinians for possession of holy sites; in Egypt, Israel and India political leaders are murdered by religious zealots. In many parts of the world, religion combines with ethnic and national conflict to stimulate political militancy. The collapse of Communism and the failure of Western secular models of development have stimulated the revival of religiously inspired nationalisms. Even in stable affluent democracies, religion is a powerful influence on political preferences. It affects lifestyle concerns such as abortion, gender roles and gay rights. It influences economic attitudes. It shapes the alignments of political parties. Believers try to influence governments and, although most governments in principle tolerate religious diversity, many still attempt to regulate religious behaviour, particularly that of new religious movements.
Steve Bruce draws on material from all over the world and from all religious traditions to explore the complex links between religion and politics. He shows that, while social, economic and political circumstances shape the political choices and actions of believers, religion still matters. Although the major world faiths have at times been associated with every conceivable political agenda, there remain important differences between Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Confucian, Shinto and Muslim politics.
Caution About Method.
The Mix-and-Match Wardrobe.
The Limits to Comparison.
Defining Politics and Religion.
Religion Standing Apart.
The Ottoman Empire.
The Balkan Secessions.
The Failure of Reform.
The British Raj.
Religious Identities in India.
Creating a Nation from a Religion.
Religion and National Identity.
Nationalists Mobilizing Strong Religious Identities.
Poland and Ireland.
Nationalists Mobilizing Weak Religious Identities.
Russia and the Ukraine.
Nationalists Rejecting Strong Religious Identities.
Turkey, Egypt, Syria and Iran.
Nationalists Rejecting Fragmented Religious Identities.
Pious Dissent from Religio-ethnic Linkage.
The Limits to Fundamentalism.
Closed Catholic Politics.
Catholicism and the Right.
Open Catholic Politics.
Religious Dissent and Class Formation.
Religion and West European Politics Post-1945.
Religion and Party.
Resisting State Terror.
The Value of Religion for Political Protest.
The Moral High Ground.
The New Christian Right.
The rise of the NCR.
Evaluating the NCR.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Zealotry.
Concluding Thoughts on Individualism.
Enforcing Obedience to God.
The Road to Freedom.
An Aside on Necessity.
The post-Soviet settlement.
Policing Religious Innovation.
Millennial Disaster Movements.
New Religions and Children.
Parties and Social Movements.
Models of Explanation.
The Pygmalion Method.
The Causal Nexus.
The Nature of the Divine.
The Reach of Religion.
The Politics of Orthopraxis.
Religions of the Powerful and the Impotent.
The Burns Doctrine: Secularization and Liberty.
Individualism and egalitarianism.
"There are two things to be said about this book apart from the characteristic acumen, learning and clarity Steve Bruce brings to the major issues of religion and politics. First, that those who so often publicly air their views about the dire consequences of religion should here learn the kind of social scientific work they need to undertake to render mere opinion serious. Second, that it will be worth watching the reactions of all those involved in the intellectual scandal of political correctness to so trenchant, courageous and even-handed a treatment of "sensitive" topics." David D. Martin, London School of Economics
"In many respects, this book contains all the hallmarks of Steve Bruce's writing: it is bold, provocative, clear and fluent...he [the author] has provided food for thought, and a welcome introduction to the place of religion in the modern world" Grace Davies, Church Times
"I commend this book as a very good and judicious introduction and review of a contested and fraught subject: the inter-relationship between faith and politics." Theology
"It contains a great deal of useful history and analysis, clearly presented, and it focuses on an insufficiently studied area of social science." Malcom Brown, Cambridge Theological Federation
"Bruce draws on a dazzling array of cases across the globe and across time to explore the nature of the relationship between religion and politics...this is an excellent book. Its range is extraordinary, its arguments clearly laid out, and its writing clear and lucid." Clyde Wilcox, Political Science Quarterly
"Steve Bruce's Religion and Politics takes a different approach to the question of religion's resurgence in the aftermath of the Cold War. A sociologist by training, he takes the reader through the role of religion in politics in an encyclopedic manner, using a comparative case study approach. ...It is here that reader begins to understand the enormous depth of his investigation-a quality that is maintained in each chapter. ...Religion and Politics [is] a welcome addition to a growing and much needed new body of scholarship in international relations. James F. Rinehart, Troy State University
- Explores the way in which religion combines with ethnic and national conflict to stimulate political militancy in many parts of the world.
- Draws on material from all over the world and from all religious traditions to explore the complex links between religion and politics.
- Shows that, while social, economic and political circumstances shape the political choices and actions of believers, religion is still, in itself, a significant factor.
- The wealth of examples includes Islamic fundamentalism, the Israel/Palestine conflict and the murders of political leaders in India, Egypt and Israel.
- Examines the important differences between Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, Confucian, Shinto and Muslim politics.