Towards an integrative theory of religion and politics

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In the social sciences, debate on the relationship between religion and politics is mainly the subject of analysis in the sociology of religion and the theory of international relations. While each of these fields promotes different approaches to study their interdependency. The individual's perception of religion and politics is neglected by current research. The faithful, who participates in religious ceremonies, listening and behaving according to specific religious teachings, actively engaging in the liturgical life of the institutional form of his religion, has a specific way of understanding the relationship between religion and politics. I argue that this aspect is under-researched and misrepresented in the literature of sociology and international relations. However, a more complex analysis is offered by the study of nationalism, and especially by its ethnosymbolic approach, which includes at the micro and macro societal level the presence of myths and symbols as part of the individual's and the nation's life. An integrative theory analysing the connection between religion and politics takes into account the role of myths and symbols from the perspectives of both individuals and ethnic communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-381
Number of pages18
JournalMethod and Theory in the Study of Religion
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • religion
  • politics
  • international relations
  • perception of religion
  • perception of politics
  • nationalism
  • ethnosymbolic approach
  • micro societal level
  • macro societal level
  • myths
  • symbols
  • individuals
  • ethnic communities


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