Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

A neo-Weberian approach to religion in international politics


Current approaches for understanding and analyzing religion in international politics insufficiently incorporate the role of ethics in the practices of religious actors. Primordialist approaches essentialize religion, instrumental approaches consider it to be an epiphenomenon, and cosmopolitan approachesa prioridowngrade alternative ethical constructs as insufficiently universalist. An approach to religion that begins with a constitutive understanding of religious belief and economic, social, and political practice as outlined in Weber’sSociology of Religion, is more helpful. However, because Weber’s method insufficiently addresses ethical intentionality, the ‘neo-Weberian’ approach I advance here incorporates the concepts of ‘common good’ and ‘popular casuistry’ into socio-historical contextualization. This approach provides a way to understand and theorize how religious adherents connect religious guidelines to moral action that avoids the essentialization of religion which is often characteristic of other perspectives.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View