Religious Revivals as a Product and Tool of Globalization
Title: Religious Revivals as a Product and Tool of Globalization
Author: ROY, Olivier
Citation: Le religioni nelle relazioni internazionali, Quaderni di Relazioni Internazionali, 2010, 12 22-34
The debate on the role of religions in international relations tends to revolve around the clash or dialogue alternative. Religion is seen either as a part of an ethno-national culture or as a supra national factor that could threaten existing nation-states. The same religion may be perceived under both paradigms: for instance, the Catholic church could be seen as a pillar of Irish or Polish national identity, and conversely, for some Protestant or secularist countries, as a foreign, supra-national entity, which could unduly call for citizens’ loyalty against the state (for instance among US and Swiss political elites in the 19th century there was a creeping critic against the Church not to speak about the secular French Republic). As an ethno-national factor, religion could turn into a driving political force either for mobilizing large segments of the domestic population (the Christian right in the US for example) or for enlisting foreign forces in support of a given foreign policy (for instance both Israel and some Arab states try to stir up support among Jews or Muslims living abroad, while the Iranian Islamic revolution tried to enlist the support of Shi’a minorities abroad). In this perspective migrants who keep their identity and faith are seen as a possible fifth column of foreign countries (this was true for the Japanese in the US during the second world war, as well as for Muslim migrants in contemporary Europe). Many Mediterranean countries (such as Morocco and even 'secular' Turkey) present themselves as legitimate mediators for organizing the religious life of second generation migrants in Europe. Conversely, the West considers to be its duty to protect (or claim to protect) Christian minorities in the Muslim world.
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