Beyond Religious FreedomThe New Global Politics of Religion

Beyond Religious FreedomThe New Global Politics of Religion

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780691166094

Publisher: Princeton University Press


In recent years, North American and European nations have sought to legally remake religion in other countries through an unprecedented array of international initiatives. Policymakers have rallied around the notion that the fostering of religious freedom, interfaith dialogue, religious tolerance, and protections for religious minorities are the keys to combating persecution and discrimination. This book argues that these initiatives create the very social tensions and divisions they are meant to overcome. It looks at three critical channels of state-sponsored intervention: international religious freedom advocacy, development assistance and nation building, and international law. It shows how these initiatives make religious difference a matter of law, resulting in a divide that favors forms of religion authorized by those in power and excludes other ways of being and belonging. In exploring the dizzying power dynamics and blurred boundaries that characterize relations between “expert religion,” “governed religion,” and “lived religion,” the book charts new territory in the study of religion in global politics. The book provides new insights into today's most pressing dilemmas of power, difference, and governance.