The question of religion and world politics

Jonathan Fox, Shmuel Sandler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In this essay we introduce this special volume on the role of religion in world conflict. We develop a common definition of religion which focuses on five ways religion can influence society and politics: (1) as a basis for identify; (2) as a belief system that influences behavior; (3) through formal religious doctrines; (4) as a source of legitimacy; and (5) through its religious institutions. We discuss why the issue of religion has in the past received little attention from social scientists. Finally, we develop a set of common questions which the other authors in this volume address. These questions are designed to create a better understanding of the role religion plays in world conflict as well as how international relations theory can help us understand this role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-303
Number of pages11
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


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