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Religion, spirituality and the social sciencesChallenging marginalisation$
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Basia Spalek and Alia Imtoual

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420411

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420411.001.0001

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Political religion: secularity and the study of religion in global civil society

Political religion: secularity and the study of religion in global civil society

Chapter:
(p.9) One Political religion: secularity and the study of religion in global civil society
Source:
Religion, spirituality and the social sciences
Author(s):

John D'Arcy May

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847420411.003.0002

The place of religion within the civil society has always been a contested issue. Some contend that religion should be separated from the mechanisms of the society while some argue that religion is indispensable to public morality and good government. In addition to the debates on religion, the concept of ‘political religion’ is also contested as it is a term loaded with ambiguities. Should religion be instrumentalised by politics? Should it be kept away from the political sphere? Is it the case that religions are constitutively political in their different ways, such that their political orientation will always come to light in the public sphere? These ambiguities in the notion of political religion call for caution in addressing the topic in the field of Religious Studies as well as in the field of International Relations. This chapter investigates in what sense religion can legitimately be political. It also considers the implications of this in International Relations. It ponders on whether the emerging global civil society will be secular in the same sense as its nation state predecessors.

Keywords:   religion, political religion, Religious Studies, International Relations, global civil society

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