By Gregorio Bettiza and Peter Henne
The Geopolitics of Religious Soft Power

This chapter evaluates the Geopolitics of Religious Soft Power project, providing an overview of its contributions and shortcomings, while also identifying possible avenues for future research. The chapter begins by outlining the current volume and highlighting three of its main contributions to the field of international relations: its positioning of power analysis at the center of research on religion in world politics, its broadening of the typical approach to states–religion interactions in foreign policy, and its challenging of secularist assumptions about global politics. However, this volume is not without its limitations, which include a reductive approach to religion and an understanding of soft power that is at once conceptually broad and empirically narrow. Avenues for future research include considering religious power beyond the notion of soft power, identifying more systematically how different religions shape soft-power relations, and improving the measurement of religious soft power and influence.

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023


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