Religion as an Overlooked Element of International Relations

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Political Science
Political Science 3314E
Radoslav Dimitrov

Religion as an Overlooked Element of International Relations Advanced IR The foreign policies of the leaders of theocratic states like Iran and Afghanistan are influenced by their religious viewsAlso the use of religion as a source of public legitimacy is highlighted by the influence of moral appeals by religious leaders such as the pope and dali lama When religion is addressed in IR it is addressed within the context of some other category such as institutions organizations society civilizations or terrorism WHY RELIGION IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED IN THE STUDY OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS The most influential explanation of why the role of religion in international politics is overlooked is that the social sciences including international relations have their origin in the rejection of religion Influential 19th century theorists Emil Durkheim Max Weber and Karl Marx concluded that religion was a declining force in the world one that would eventually disappear The idea that religion was to become a less important factor in the modern world was an essential element of this understanding The formation of IR has been attributed to the belief that the era in which religion caused war over Debated in Sociology 1 Definition of Secularization Scholars argue whether secularization is defined as people becoming less religious than they have been in the past or as a decline in the influence of religion on social and political institutions that is caused by the transformation of religion from a public issue to a private one2The disagreement over whether either of these processes is in fact occurring Modernity has cause an expansion of the operating spheres of both religious elements into the political process Modernity has allowed the admission of the masses modern communications technology has resulted in the nationalization and globalization of diverse issues including religion In many modern societies the freedom of choice to select ones religion has led to an increase in religiosity how much a person is religious
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