Taking Religious and Cultural Pluralism Seriously

The Global Resurgence of Religion and the Transformation of International Society
  • Scott M. Thomas
Part of the Culture and Religion in International Relations book series (CRIR)


The Western culture of modernity and the institutions of international society embedded in it are being challenged by the global resurgence of religion and cultural pluralism in international relations. This resurgence is part of the larger crisis of modernity. It reflects a deeper and more widespread disillusionment with a “modernity” that reduces the world to what can be perceived and controlled through reason, science, technology, and bureaucratic rationality, and leaves out considerations of the religious, the spiritual, or the sacred. In the second instance, the global resurgence of religion is the result of the failure of the modernizing, secular state to produce both democracy and development in the Third World. This failure became evident by subsequent “political decay”—the decline of politics into authoritarianism, patrimonialism, and corruption since the late 196os—and by “political collapse”—the disintegration of some states, particularly in Africa, since the late 198os.2 Dissatisfaction with the project of the postcolonial secular state and the conflict between religious nationalism and secular nationalism was one of the most important developments in Third World politics in the 1990s.3


International Society International Relation International Order Common Culture Cultural Pluralism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Pavlos Hatzopoulos and Fabio Petito 2003

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  • Scott M. Thomas

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