The Holy See as Hybrid Actor: Religion in International, Transnational, and World Society

Part of the Culture and Religion in International Relations book series (CRIR)


The chapter shows how actors who are religious as well as political, public as well as international, pursue a transnational foreign policy, address a global public and thus participate in creating a transnational society. To understand such actors, the term ‘hybrid actor’ is introduced. Embedded in the theoretical framework of the English School, the term improves the understanding of how such actors link the international system with a transnational or global public. By examining the dyad between the Holy See and Iran, the chapter focuses on two striking but different examples of hybrid actors. The dyad’s double social practices of diplomatic communication and inter-religious dialogue are subsequently interpreted as manifestations of the links between international society and a transnational or world society.


Pope Holy See Iran English School Hybrid actor 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PassauPassauGermany

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