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Rethinking Religion and World Affairs$
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Timothy Samuel Shah, Alfred Stepan, and Monica Duffy Toft

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199827978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199827978.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

Why Religion? Why Now?

Why Religion? Why Now?

(p.15) 1 } Why Religion? Why Now?
Rethinking Religion and World Affairs

J. Bryan Hehir

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the paradox embodied by the main theme of this volume: religion and world politics. The text in this book, explicitly or implicitly, refers to the emergence or resurgence of religion in international affairs. Yet, the paradox is that the scholars in this volume and in other sources who speak of a return or a resurgence of religion have a valid point. In reality religion has never been absent from international affairs. But the study of world politics—particularly the formal discipline of international relations—and the practice of world politics—particularly formal interstate diplomacy—have both treated religion as inconsequential, a reality which could be ignored by scholars or diplomats without any diminishment of their understanding of the world. Sorting out the paradox of this volume requires a determination of why religion has been marginalized in the past, what factors have brought about its “resurgence” in fact and in theory, and how the relationship of religion and international affairs should be pursued in theory and practice.

Keywords:   religion, world politics, international affairs, paradox, international relations, interstate diplomacy

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