Religions (May 2021)

Religion and International Relations: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It?

  • Jeffrey Haynes

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 5
p. 328


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The article surveys the recent scholarly study of religion and international relations/International Relations (ir/IR). The focus of the article is on two discrete periods: pre-11 September 2001 (‘9/11’) and post-9/11. During the first time period, Iran’s Islamic revolution (1979), the civil war in former Yugoslavia and Huntington’s ‘clash of civilisations’ (1993) were major foci of attention. The second period saw a large number of scholarly accounts following the 9/11 attacks on the USA, with a sustained focus on the international securitisation of Islam. The article concludes that following the recent diminution of the threat to the West of Islamist terrorism—subsequent to the apparent demise of Islamic State and the fragmentation and dissipation of al Qaeda—the study of religion in IR theory needs to take better account of changing circumstances to arrive at an improved understanding of how religion impacts on international relations/International Relations.