Introduction: Why We Need Political Science of Religion

  • Maciej PotzEmail author


This chapter addresses three main deficiencies in the political science literature dealing with the relationship between politics and religion: its narrowly legalistic-institutional approach, resulting in viewing the political significance of religion exclusively through models of “church-state relations”; its normative overload, whereby the research is informed by philosophical preconceptions on the proper place of religion in the public sphere; and its methodological eclecticism, resulting in the failure to provide a coherent account of religion as a power resource and religious organizations as political actors, grounded in theoretical frameworks of political science. The critique is a starting point to proposing political science of religion as a consistently political science approach supplanting the “church and state” and “religion and politics” paradigms and integrating the study of religion into the mainstream of the discipline, instead of singling it out for a special treatment.


Church-state relations Normativism Political science of religion Religion and politics 


  1. Bärsch, C.-E. (2009). Basic Outlines of the ‘Political Science of Religion’. In R. Sonnenschmidt & B. C. Labuschange (Eds.), Religion, Politics and Law: Philosophical Reflections on the Sources of Normative Order in Society. Leiden and Boston: Brill.Google Scholar
  2. Borecki, P., & Janik, C. (2012). Uwarunkowania i przebieg prac nad nową polską konstytucją ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem roli kościołów i organizacji światopoglądowych. In P. Borecki & C. Janik (Eds.), Kościoły i organizacje światopoglądowe o nowej polskiej konstytucji. Warszawa: Elipsa.Google Scholar
  3. Burgoński, P. (2014). Modele relacji między religią i polityką. In: Religia i polityka. Zarys problematyki, P. Burgoński, M. Gierycz (Eds.).Google Scholar
  4. Eberle, E. J. (2011). Church and State in Western Society. Established Church, Cooperation and Separation. Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  5. Enyedi, Z. (2003). Conclusion: Emerging Issues in the Study of Church-state Relations. West European Politics, 26(1), 218–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fink, S. (2009). Churches as Societal Veto Players: Religious Influence in Actor-Centred Theories of Policy-Making. West European Politics, 32(1), 77–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gaddy, C. W., & Lynn, B. W. (2008). First Freedom First. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  8. Gill, A. (2001). Religion and Comparative Politics. Annual Review of Political Science, 4, 117–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Haynes, J. (Ed.). (2006). The Politics of Religion. A Survey. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Haynes, J. (Ed.). (2016). Routledge Handbook of Religion and Politics (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Hertzke, A. (2009). Religious Interest Groups in American Politics. In C. E. Smidt, L. A. Kellstedt, & J. L. Guth (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and American Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Jevtić, M. (2007). Political Science and Religion. Politics and Religion Journal, 1(1), 59–69.Google Scholar
  13. Kettell, S. (2016). Do We Need a Political Science of Religion? Political Studies Review, 14(2).Google Scholar
  14. Kowalczyk, K. (2012). Partie i ugrupowania parlamentarne wobec Kościoła katolickiego w Polsce w latach 1989–2011. Szczecin: Zapol.Google Scholar
  15. Marczewska-Rytko, M. (2018). Politologia religii jako subdyscyplina religioznawstwa i/lub nauk o polityce. In M. Marczewska-Rytko & D. Maj (Eds.), Politologia religii. Lublin: Wydawnictwo UMCS.Google Scholar
  16. Miller, D. D. (2016). The Myth of Normative Secularism. Religion and Politics in the Democratic Homeworld. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Mitchell, J. (2007). Religion Is Not a Preference. The Journal of Politics, 69(2), 351–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Neuberger, B. (1999–2000). Religion and State in Europe and Israel. Israel Affairs, 6.Google Scholar
  19. Neuhaus, R. J. (1986). The Naked Public Square. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans.Google Scholar
  20. Potz, M. (2010). The Unfulfilled Promise? Deliberative Democracy vs. Political Participation. Polish Political Science Yearbook, XXXIX: 108–125.Google Scholar
  21. Potz, M. (2016). Teokracje amerykańskie. Źródła i mechanizmy władzy usankcjonowanej religijnie. Łódź: Łódź University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Rawls, J. (1999). The Idea of Public Reason Revisited. In The Law of Peoples with “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited”. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Smidt, C. E., Kellstedt, L. A., & Guth, J. L. (Eds.). (2009). The Oxford Handbook of Religion and American Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Wald, K. D., & Wilcox, C. (2006). Getting Religion: Has Political Science Rediscovered the Faith Factor? American Political Science Review, 100(4), 523–529.Google Scholar
  25. Warner, C. (2001). Confessions of an Interest Group: The Catholic Church and Political Parties in Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Zrinščak, S. (2011). Church, State and Society in Post-Communist Europe. In J. M. Barbalet, A. Possamai, & B. S. Turner (Eds.), Religion and the State. A Comparative Sociology. London; New York; Delhi: Anthem Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of International and Political StudiesUniversity of ŁódźŁódźPoland

Personalised recommendations