Politics and Religion / Edition 1

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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.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Bruce is consistently rigorous and disciplined, literate andhumane, as he brings the sociology of religion into the center ofpublic issues and debate. A major contribution by a maturesociologist, this book should be required reading for all thoseconcerned with the prospects for freedom and rationality in afrightened and frightening world." Richard K. Fenn, PrincetonTheological Seminary

"There are two things to be said about this book apart from thecharacteristic acumen, learning and clarity Steve Bruce brings tothe major issues of religion and politics. First, that those who sooften publicly air their views about the dire consequences ofreligion should here learn the kind of social scientific work theyneed to undertake to render mere opinion serious. Second, that itwill be worth watching the reactions of all those involved in theintellectual 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 SteveBruce's writing: it is bold, provocative, clear and fluent...he[the author] has provided food for thought, and a welcomeintroduction to the place of religion in the modern world" GraceDavies, Church Times

"I commend this book as a very good and judicious introductionand review of a contested and fraught subject: theinter-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 areaof social science." Malcom Brown, Cambridge TheologicalFederation

"Bruce draws on a dazzling array of cases across the globe andacross time to explore the nature of the relationship betweenreligion and politics...this is an excellent book. Its range isextraordinary, its arguments clearly laid out, and its writingclear and lucid." Clyde Wilcox, Political ScienceQuarterly

"Steve Bruce's Religion and Politics takes a differentapproach to the question of religion's resurgence in the aftermathof the Cold War. A sociologist by training, he takes the readerthrough the role of religion in politics in an encyclopedic manner,using a comparative case study approach. ...It is here that readerbegins to understand the enormous depth of his investigation-aquality that is maintained in each chapter. ...Religion andPolitics [is] a welcome addition to a growing and much needednew body of scholarship in international relations. James F.Rinehart, Troy State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745628202
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/12/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 0.65 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Bruce is Professor of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen and a Fellow of the British Academy

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Table of Contents





Some Illustrations.

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.

Common Humanity.

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.

Sub-Saharan Africa.

Imposing Toleration.

Why religion?.

Pious Dissent from Religio-ethnic Linkage.

Global Fundamentalism.

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.

Socio-moral Values.




Taming Industry.

Promoting Equality.

Resisting State Terror.

The Value of Religion for Political Protest.

The Moral High Ground.



Honest brokers.


The New Christian Right.

The rise of the NCR.

Evaluating the NCR.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Zealotry.

Structural Advantages.

Structural Constraints.

Concluding Thoughts on Individualism.



Enforcing Obedience to God.

Ensuring Loyalty.

The Road to Freedom.

An Aside on Necessity.

Communist Repression.

The post-Soviet settlement.


Islamic Repression.



Policing Religious Innovation.


Millennial Disaster Movements.

State Responses.

New Religions and Children.





Parties and Social Movements.

Models of Explanation.

The Pygmalion Method.


The Causal Nexus.

The Variables.

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.





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