Organizing politics

Religion and political parties in comparative perspective

Authored by: Payam Mohseni , Clyde Wilcox

Routledge Handbook of Religion and Politics

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138826991
eBook ISBN: 9781315643922
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315643922-13

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Abstract

The study of religion and political parties represents a relatively understudied subfield of research that has nevertheless recently witnessed a resurgence of scholarly interest given its increasing global significance. Initially focused on the intersection of religious cleavages and party formation in Western democracies in the mid-twentieth century, 1 the field has expanded both in terms of geographic breadth to cover the non-Western world – in part due to the spread of multi-party elections and the rise of party politics around the globe 2 – and in terms of the depth in scope of inquiry to focus beyond the subject of social cleavages to analyse the complexity and multiplicity of forms by which religion and political parties may interact. The recent victories of Islamic political parties in the Middle East as a consequence of the Arab Spring, for example, as was the case with the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in Egypt, Ennahda in Tunisia, and the Party of Justice and Development (PJD) in Morocco, underscore the growing significance of the intersection of religion and political parties in shaping the contemporary world. Especially in light of their different political manifestations despite their proclaimed adherence to the same religion, Islam, the rise to power of these parties serves to drive in the need for further research on questions of religion and political parties with regards to areas such as democratization, party platform formation, party moderation and secularization, and social constituency representation and interest articulation.

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