The Birth of “Religion and International Relations”: Questions of Scale

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The field religion and international relations (IR) has been established over the last twenty years within the discipline of IR. It marks a new (largely twenty-first century) set of interdisciplinary engagements, bringing together political science and the sociology of religion. “Religion and IR” and “religious studies” continue to conduct their business independently, in different conferences, journals, and book series, but their interests increasingly overlap. This enquiry interprets religion and IR as a “turn to the local.” This is displayed in its concern with events at the local level that have significance that travels up the scale of levels of analysis to events that have international significance. The turn to the local offers compelling arguments for shifting the focus in IR away from states and on to relations between local, national, and international actors. Engaging here with influential works in religion and IR published over the last fifteen years, I argue that it is the turn to the local that offers the most scope for collaboration between scholars of religion and IR and scholars in religious studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411–436
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Religion
Issue number2
Early online date20 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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