Review of Religion in International Relations Theory
Keywords:Religion, Secular, International Relations theory, post-secular
While religion’s presence in society is not disputed, its significance in international relations (ir) and the severity of its challenge to the largely ‘secular’ international relations discipline (IR) is still debatable. Also noteworthy is the way IR (theoretical) literature has defined and considered religion: caged in certain dimensions and constrained to specific roles. While Huntington started the debate on civilizational conflicts, several studies in the past few decades have contested the validity of not only ‘warring’ civilizations thesis but also how to incorporate religion in IR. There are fewer studies that discuss in-depth, various theoretical challenges that different groups of scholars have tried to tackle in IR, and the main gaps in those studies. This paper seeks to fill that gap by proposing a different review of the existing IR literature, i.e., in light of key trends in the IR’s quest to incorporate religion into existing theories or newer frameworks. In that context, the paper argues that key works in the field can be classified according to where they place religion in (existing) IR. Three important developments in the IR scholarship as thus proposed: i) studies incorporating Religion in traditional IR theory, ii) Religious IR theories/approaches and frameworks of analysis, and iii) finding secular in the post-secularizing IR. The paper examines the above trends in detail and critically analyzes each development, followed by a brief discussion on the methodological avenues for studying different religions under the same framework.
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