Exploring the Public Effects of Religious Communication on Politics
Religion's profound influence on politics
Though not all people are religious believers, religion has played important historic roles in developing political systems, parties, and policies—affecting believers and non-believers alike. This is particularly true in the United States, where scholars have devoted considerable attention to a variety of political phenomena at the intersection of religious belief and identity, including social movements, voting behavior, public opinion, and public policy. These outcomes are motivated by “identity boundary-making” among the religiously affiliated. The contributors to this volume examine two main factors that influence religious identity: the communication of religious ideas and the perceptions of people (including elites) in communicating said ideas.
Exploring the Public Effects of Religious Communication on Politics examines an array of religious communication phenomena. These include the media’s role in furthering religious narratives about minority groups, religious strategies that interest groups use to advance their appeal, the variable strength of Islamophobia in cross-national contexts, what qualifies as an “evangelical” identity, and clergy representation of religious and institutional teachings. The volume also provides ways for readers to think about developing new insights into the influence religious communication has on political outcomes.
Praise / Awards
“The intersection of religion and political communication is an understudied area . . . this book is timely and important.”
—Rebecca A. Glazier, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
“The carefully researched and beautifully written chapters in this volume answer the essential ‘how,’ ‘when,’ and ‘why’ questions that link religion and politics. With a focus on religious communication, readers will gain new insights, a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between religion and politics, and alternative ways of thinking about the political environment.”
—Michele Margolis, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania
“If you want to understand how religion matters in American politics, you need to understand religious communication. Who is communicating what? To whom? And to what effect? To that end, this volume offers rich insights into religious communication of all sorts, across many religious traditions.”
—David Campbell, University of Notre Dame
“The explosion of experimental work on persuasive communication in politics, partly a result of on-line research that combines internal and external validity, has enabled scholars to better understand the mobilization of religion for political ends. Researchers have long suspected that communication of political messages by religious elites plays a powerful role in engaging and activating congregants to enter the public square. Thanks to these new methods, they can now trace the impact of messages from both religious and secular elites on various audiences, giving social scientists a deeper understanding of why the spheres of religion and politics so often overlap. The essays in this volume take stock of the new developments and point the way to even more insightful analysis to come. This book should be the starting point for any scholar who wants to understand the transmission of political messages in ostensibly nonpolitical environments such as religious organizations as well as the importance of media (social and otherwise) as a venue for political parties and candidates interested in capturing the support of religiously inclined voters and activists.”
—Kenneth Wald, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Florida
“Exploring the Public Effects of Religious Communication on Politics makes an important contribution to our understanding of religious communication and the field of political communication more broadly. It should be required reading for anyone who has ever wondered why politicians publicly invoke religion, and the consequences of religious communication in the public at large.”
—Christopher Chapp, St. Olaf College
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