By Gregorio Bettiza
Marlene Laruelle (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Illiberalism. 2024

Religious and civilizational politics are widely recognized as powerful forces challenging key norms of the liberal international order in the twenty-first century. The chapter begins by emphasizing that religions and civilizations are not inherently illiberal phenomena incompatible with liberal principles and values. Upon clearing this conceptual ground, it turns to highlighting how resurging religious and civilizational politics are nonetheless involved in significant forms and processes of liberal contestation. On the one hand, much of the contemporary illiberal (global) politics of religion is implicated in a rejection of evolving transnational norms on gender, sexuality, and family associated with a cultural liberal script; on the other hand, the illiberal (global) politics of civilizationism mostly contests certain universalist, cosmopolitan, and globalist principles associated with liberal internationalism. While noting that the illiberal politics of religion and civilization can overlap and reinforce each other, both express an ambivalent and contextually specific attitude toward political liberalism.



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