The relationship between fundamentalism and globalization and the agency of social groups in weaving this relationship has generated a significant body of work. This growing body of literature has addressed which political-economic and sociocultural processes are associated with these processes; the manner in which this connection relates to modernity and colonialism; how paradigmatic shifts such as postcolonialism and neoliberalism brought about ruptures and reinforced continuities; and what roles new social actors and political constellations play. Related literature focuses on a broad range of processes, from global socioeconomic changes and urbanization to political constellations, global geoeconomic competition, and international migration. It includes authors who approach such multifaceted processes of fundamentalism and globalization from various perspectives. Recent scholarship also considers connections between fundamentalism and globalization and the rise of authoritarian politics in early 21st century. This dynamic relationship between fundamentalism and globalization presents a series of challenges for both social actors and scholars. How do postmodern deconstruction and reconstruction of modernity affect both ruptures and continuities in this relationship? In what ways does the rise of right-wing politics in early 21st century relate to phenomena such as Christian nationalism and Islamophobia as new forms of fundamentalism? How do the rise of the middle classes and new political-economic constellations relate to similar processes in the Global South? What kind of religious discourses and practices enable the sacralization of neoliberalism? Fundamentalism and globalization should be considered as inextricably embedded in social processes and practices that are both shaped by and actively shaping existing power relations.
Gamze Evcimen and Robert A. Denemark
Religion has long been seen as an obstacle to diplomacy, especially in disputes and conflicts that seem to be related to or motivated by religion. The very nature of religion—its concerns for dogma, truth, and certainty— would seem to be contrary to the nature of successful diplomacy, with its emphasis on empathy, dialogue, understanding, negotiation, and compromise. However, religion and diplomacy have become more interrelated since the end of the twentieth century. Globalization and the changing nature of conflict have exposed the limits of conventional diplomacy in resolving these new conflicts in a global era, and this has opened up new opportunities for religious actors involved in diplomacy. A so-called “faith-based diplomacy” has emerged, which promotes dialogue within and between religious traditions. Particularly in the Islamic world, with a new generation of theologians and politicians, it is recognized that there is a key role for religious leaders and faith-based diplomacy in the Middle East. Faith-based diplomacy can be distinguished from the traditional models of peacemaking and conflict resolution by its holistic approach to the sociopolitical healing of a conflict that has taken place. In other words, the objective of faith-based diplomacy is not only conflict resolution but also the restoration of the political order that has suffered from war and injustice, and the reconciliation of individuals and social groups.
Collecting and examining datasets on ethnicity and religion involves translating and codifying real-world phenomena such as actions taken by governments and other groups into data which can be analyzed by social science statistical techniques. This methodology is intended to be applied to phenomena which in their original form are in a format not readily accessible to statistical analyses, i.e. “softer” phenomena and events such as government policies and conflict behavior. Thus, this methodology is not necessary for phenomena like GDP or government military spending, but is based on behavior by organizations or groups of individuals which are assessed by a coder who translates this behavior into data. Aggregate data collected by this methodology should have three qualities. First, they must be reproducible. Second, the data must be transparent in that all aspects of the data collection process and its products be clear and understandable to other researchers, to the extent that they could, in theory, be replicated. Third, it must measure what it intends to measure in a clear, accurate, and precise manner. A project which accomplishes all of this must be conceptualized properly from the beginning, including the decision on which unit of analysis to use and which cases to include and exclude. It must have appropriate sources and a tight variable design. Finally, the data must be collected in a systematic, transparent, and reproducible manner based upon appropriate sources.
Robert M. Bosco
The study of religion and development focuses on how the moral and ethical resources of the world’s major faith traditions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism might tame the worst excesses of market civilization. Whereas states, corporations, and international development institutions often define “development” as economic growth and all of the adjustments required to achieve it, religious approaches consider the consequences of this conception of development and recommend that the achievement of material gain be tempered by compassion, conscience, a greater concern for social equity, and a responsible application of science and technology to both the social and natural worlds. The origins of the field of religion and development can be traced back to Max Weber's seminal investigations into the elective affinities between Protestantism and the spirit of capitalism. In the 1980s, the majority of scholarly literature grappled with the meaning and significance of Weber’s basic ideas in various contexts and locales as scholars examined whether, when, and how religious traditions enhance or inhibit development at the international, regional, national, or community levels of analysis. After a period of hibernation, the study of religion and development was reenergized in the late 1990s as religious leaders and faith-based organizations played a central role in challenging the policies and practices of international development institutions, especially the World Bank.
William F. Felice
Economic rights refer to the right to property, the right to work, and the right to social security. Social rights are those entitlements necessary for an adequate standard of living, including rights to food, housing, health, and education. Since economic rights have a social basis, and social rights have an economic basis, both classifications are considered of equal importance and interdependent. The intellectual and social dimensions of economic and social rights have evolved from at least four spheres: religion, philosophy, politics, and law. Throughout history, individuals and groups debated and accepted obligations to help the needy and prevent suffering. There were both religious and secular dimensions to these undertakings. Early human rights advocates moreover proclaimed an interdependence between civil and political rights and economic and social rights and criticized those who made too sharp a distinction between them. A central debate over economic and social rights relates to their legal validity. Some scholars argue that by their very nature, economic and social rights are not “justiciable.” Another issue is the link between economic and social rights in meeting basic human needs and the alleviation of global poverty. The right to development is also important in debates on economic and social rights, as it attempts to correct the economic distortions left by the legacy of colonial domination. Perhaps the most promising new approach to economic and social rights is Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach, which focuses on what individuals need for adequate functioning.
Religion and culture have historically been neglected in international relations (IR) theories and in political science more generally. It was only recently that IR began to consider the role of culture and religion in war and peace. Several main scholarly trends in the study of culture, religion, conflict, and peace can be identified, starting with the definitional problems that IR scholars had to deal with as they tried to incorporate culture and religion. The first major attempt in the IR field to understand war almost exclusively through the religious prism was that of Samuel Huntington, who in his Clash of Civilization (1993, 1996) identifies two main reasons why religion can cause war: first, religion can be considered as a primordial and immutable identity; and second, religion is a form of ideology rather than identity. The scholarly literature has also addressed themes such as religious fundamentalism and violence, the role of religious actors in international conflict, the practical use of religion and culture to promote peace via diplomacy, and engagement of religion and culture in existing peace theories such as democratic peace theory. Avenues for future research may include the relational and constantly changing aspects of religion; what, when, and how various religious interpretations receive political prominence in promoting conflict or peace; how religion can be used as an independent variable across cases; and the hidden set of assumptions that are embedded in the cultural and religion labels.
A comprehensive review of the scholarly literature on the transnational movement of Hizbollah (Party of God) in the global arena examines the sociopolitical history, military capacities, strategies, and alliances of the Hizbollah movement. Situated in a narrow understanding of global politics and international relations such an examination reveals that Hizbollah poses a particular problem for international relations when the hegemonic nation-state remains the primary site of analysis. The literature on Hizbollah consistently fails to acknowledge the limitations of this worldview, and as such, continues to characterize Hizbollah as a disruptive Iranian-led militia instead of a transnational social movement rooted firmly in its followers’ self-confidence and commitment to an ideology with religious elements. As a transnational movement, Hizbollah has all but abandoned the realization of an Islamic state, holds limited military power, and is influenced by international norms and socialization. As such, the most interesting aspect of Hizbollah’s political trajectory is its imaginative politics—forms of expression rooted in its transnational attributes, developed in historical contexts, and acted upon by individual supporters of the movement through social relationships. A narrow view of the global arena as organized states in a hierarchy expands explorations of the Hizbollah movement into areas and subfields such as a Middle East studies and gender studies. These subfields have contributed valuable ethnographic research that informs a new methodological approach and resulting arguments. From this framework, based on a spatially cognizant recognition of a global Middle East, the analysis shows that Hizbollah’s various transnational attributes—including a commitment to ideological production, becoming a martyr, and following the spiritual leadership of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei—become “transitioning spaces” (as used by diaspora studies scholar Dora Silva Santana) forged in kinship that make it possible to imagine other worlds. The spiritual and sensual world that Hizbollah supporters conjure competes with the international system of political organization to make the movement noteworthy to the global arena. Importantly, this is not an alternative world, but one that coexists to challenge a focus on military, alliance, or material approaches alone.
The relationship between “religion,” “nationalism,” and transnational actors in contemporary international relations is often unclear and sometimes controversial. Many scholars have questioned the view that religion and nationalism are necessarily separate. This became necessary as it was clear that rather than fading away, religion showed surprising persistence, with deepening religious identities in many countries around the world, both “developed” and “underdeveloped.” Religion and nationalism were not necessarily apart. Instead, as two kinds of self-identification, although they were sometimes in tension, often they were not; either coexisting unproblematically, or acting in mutually supportive ways. Various approaches are suggested to explain the relationship. Rather than “either or,” the relationship between nationalism and religion can be seen as a continuum. At one end is an ideal-type “secular nationalism” and at the other there is fully realized “religious nationalism.” Somewhere in the middle is “civil-religious nationalism,” for decades believed to be the situation in America, with characteristics of both. Over time, the issue of transnationalism has also appeared of interest to scholars. This includes “transnational religious actors” which operate across international boundaries, including the Roman Catholic Church and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Our discussion commences with a discussion of secularization, in order to locate the issues of religion, nationalism, and religious transnationalist actors within an appropriate intellectual and ideological context. The aim of the essay is to illustrate how religion has a strong role in relation to nationalism and transnationalism during what many identify as a period of post-secular international relations. The two case studies highlight different aspects of religion’s involvement in international relations and underline that neither conflict nor cooperation can solely characterize such involvement.
The academic study of religion and irregular warfare has expanded considerably since the turn of the 21st century—driven by both global events such as 9/11 and empirical studies that find armed rebellions with religious dimensions to be longer, bloodier, and more difficult to resolve than nonreligious conflicts. Most of this research focuses on the religious, usually radical, ideas and practices of insurgent groups. Of particular interest has been the way religion shapes the motivations and means of guerrilla fighters. Less attention has been paid to the role of counterinsurgent armies in irregular, religious wars. Following the U.S.-led invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan, a few initial studies explored how state forces misunderstand or ignore the religious dynamics of armed conflict. A growing body of research since the mid-2010s has pushed further, cataloguing a more varied set of ways counterinsurgent forces account for religion in combat and information operations. Moving forward, studies that look at both sides of the battlefield need to expand their empirical emphases, as well as more directly address a common set of challenges to the broader study of religious violence—how best to conceptualize, measure, and analyze the religious dynamics of war. Future scholarship should also consider research designs that test the causal processes purported to link religion with conflict outcomes and pay increased attention to the interaction between insurgent and counterinsurgent forces.
Amanda E. Donahoe
Gender, religion, and politics are closely intertwined, and both have a significant impact on international relations (IR). There is a large body of literature dedicated to the intersections between gender, religion, and IR, and they can be categorized into matters regarding female subordination, human rights and equality, and feminism and agency. Religion has been historically, traditionally, and androcentrically gendered both in practice and ideology. A good portion of the literature on the linkages between gender and religion in the IR context discusses the ways in which women have been subordinated within Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Their religious subordination can be linked to legal equality, and the different forms of subordinating women implicitly and often explicitly lead to the inequality of women. Scholars who address this issue vary widely between being critical of the religions that perpetuate inequality and a dearth of women’s rights, to arguing in support of religion but in critique of its application and cultural practice. In addition, as women’s rights are but one element of the international engagements of various forms of feminism, scholars also engage in a range of discussions on political agency and the critical analysis of gender from both within and without religious and secular feminisms.