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The Constructivist Approach to Religion and World Politics

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The new generation of scholarship on religion and world politics is moving beyond the flawed paradigms of the past. The author explains why classic secularization theory is widely doubted before evaluating books that represent the three approaches of the most recent research. The newest entry, the "constructivist" approach, is examined in depth; it draws on social theory and cultural anthropology to better theorize secularism as an analytical category and to explain how (religious) ideas and actors shape major political outcomes. The "revising secularization" approach modifies classic secularization theory. The "religious economies" approach marries rational choice with the economic sociology of religion. The author discusses the strengths and weaknesses of all three approaches while arguing against the search for a grand theory of religion.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 01 July 2017

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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