Integrating religion into international relations theory

Jonathan Fox, Nukhet A. Sandal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Religion and international relations (IR) theory have had a unique and interesting relationship. This chapter discusses the multiple influences of religion on IR theory. It argues that religion is a multi-faceted phenomenon which interacts with politics, society and the economy in multiple ways. The chapter discusses how one prominent IR theory, classical realism, can accommodate an understanding of these influences. It defines religion as a social and political phenomenon that influences aspects of politics, society, and the economy. While classical realism is not a monolithic school of thought, most thinkers within this school of IR theory agree on some basic parameters. Religious institutions clearly play a role in domestic politics, where they can be potent agents of political mobilization. States which are fully guided by a religious ideology are rare but almost half of the states in the world either have an official religion or give one religion prominence over all other religions without declaring that religion the official one.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Religion and Politics
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781317287469
ISBN (Print)9781138826991
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2009, 2016 selection and editorial material, Jeffrey Haynes.


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