Illiberal Politics and Religion in Europe and Beyond

Illiberal Politics and Religion in Europe and Beyond : Concepts, Actors, and Identity Narratives

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Despite the broadly assumed institutional separation of church and state in contemporary Western politics, there is a trend towards renewed alliances between illiberal interpretations of religion and right-wing populist politics that challenge liberal democracy. This book explores the theoretically and empirically complex ideological, structural, and historical linkage between religion and illiberal politics within a broad range of European states. It shows how political actors apply Christian identity narratives to push exclusionist anti-Muslim politics, while simultaneously showcasing the ways in which religious actors evolve as illiberal players searching for political allies. This timely volume offers a critical look at a key contemporary issue that challenges assumptions and the reputations of current relationships between church and state.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 560 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 43mm | 703.07g
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • English
  • New edition
  • New Edition
  • 3593509970
  • 9783593509976

Review Text

»Religion has become a most important factor in current political debates and is instrumentalized in various ways globally and glocally, in different countries, always dependent on socio-political interests and historical trajectories. The contributions in this volume illustrate in much detail, how different religious beliefs are mobilized in exclusionary and far-right populist rhetoric and practices. Understanding the impact of these developments allows understanding salient discursive shifts in respect to the normalization of illiberalism. This book is a must-read for scholars, students, and laypeople alike.« Ruth Wodak, Em. Professor Dr DDr h.c. Ruth Wodak, FAcSS, Distinguished Professor and Chair in Discourse Studies, Lancaster University/University Vienna, 2020

»The relationship of religion to illiberal politics, especially right-wing populism in both the USA and Europe, is a key topic of political and sociological controversy. This book is detailed, comprehensive and thought-provoking. It identifies common factors, especially anti-Islam and the rise of white supremacy linked to Christianity, as key factors in such expressions of right-wing populism. It is a must-read for anyone interested in one of the most significant political developments in recent years.« Jeff Haynes, Emeritus professor, London Metropolitan University, 2020

»Practitioners and scholars have reflected on the interaction between religious and political actors and the potential risk this poses for liberal democracies. These conclusions are mostly based upon speculation. Conversely, with this fascinating book the authors offer a very coherent look on such a fluid subject, as well as conduct a careful empirical examination of a large number of actors in various countries. The book fills major gaps and offers important lessons for both policy makers and academics.« Manuela Caiani, Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence, Italy, 2020

»This comprehensive and original book puts a new light on the historically tense relations between religions and liberal values; it shows how religion, in a time of decreasing religious practices, finds a new life through populist and nationalist narratives. A very well needed conceptual approach to the rise of illiberal politics, based on in depth case studies.« Olivier Roy, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies European University Institute, 2020
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About Anja Hennig

Anja Hennig is a professor at European University Viadrina, Frankfurt.Mirjam Weiberg-Salzmann is head of research at the German Center for Integration and Migration Research.
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