Words and Things: Religious and Political Domains

  • Fred M. Frohock


One of the more compelling starting points in social theory is defining the experience that one is studying. This Aristotelian exercise is irresistible when comparing two or more experiences that are demarcated for reasons independent of any research or linguistic project, and seem deficient accordingly. Church and state, for example, are separated in the United States on constitutional grounds, and almost never defined within constitutional law as organizations, institutions, or practices. Yet the reasons for separating church and state must rely to some degree on what we make of religion and politics. If the two (in this case) practices are identical or essentially similar, then arguments for separating church and state would be different than if the practices are radically unlike one another. My effort in these opening chapters will be to engage in what might be called concept-formation (or discovery). I will offer definitions of religion and politics, and explore the defining strategies that yield various productive concepts of church and state with the thought of providing a first cut into the distinctions, overlaps and mutual effects of the two institutions in democratic political systems.


Political System Break Point Political Theory Religious Practice Liberal Democracy 
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© Fred M. Frohock 2006

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  • Fred M. Frohock

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