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Securing the Sacred

Religion, National Security, and the Western State

Robert M. Bosco

Publication Year: 2014

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Western nations have increasingly recognized religion as a consideration in domestic and foreign policy. In this empirical comparison of the securitization of Islam in Britain, France, and the United States, Robert M. Bosco argues that religion is a category of phenomena defined by the discourses and politics of both religious and state elites. Despite significant theoretical distinctions between securitization on the domestic and the international levels, he finds that the outcome of addressing religion within the context of security hinges upon partnerships. Whereas states may harness the power of international allies, they cannot often find analogous domestic allies; therefore, states that attempt to securitize religion at home are more vulnerable to counterattack and more likely to abandon their efforts. This book makes a significant contribution to the fields of political theory, international relations, Islamic studies, and security/military studies.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Series: Configurations: Critical Studies of Worl


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

owe many debts of gratitude to those who helped to make this book a reality. This book owes its origin to my longstanding interest—students and friends would say obsession—with the study of religion in international affairs. My journey into this topic began under the tutelage...

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Patrick Thaddeus Jackson

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pp. ix-x

The idea of the Configurations book series is to combine cutting-edge conceptual and theoretical work with detailed case studies so as to demonstrate, in concrete ways, what novel insights such combinations can generate. Robert Bosco’s book is that rare combination of a timely work on...

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Introduction: Religion as a National Security Enigma

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pp. 1-12

After 9/11, religion reappeared as a national security enigma in the West. For many, the events of that day had an irreducibly religious dimension. For reasons of national security, the sacred could no longer be ignored. On the other hand, it remained unclear exactly how to engage with religious...

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1. Religion and International Security: Theory and Method

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pp. 13-26

In this chapter I lay out the theoretical and methodological assumptions about religion and security that I bring to this book. I first explain the basic framework of securitization theory and then elaborate what I mean by the “securitization of religion.” Following this discussion, I draw...

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2. Securitization of Religion: The Basic Discourse

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pp. 27-45

In the years following September 11, 2001, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and Nicolas Sarkozy described what appeared to be a fundamentally altered geopolitical landscape in a similar way. All three leaders converged on the notion that a new “war of ideas” had emerged in which discourse...

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3. Britain: Religion as a Weapon

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pp. 46-67

No point in being “squeamish,” proclaimed Hazel Blears, Britain’s former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The evidence was in. According to a 2009 BBC poll, more than three in five Britons believed that “national laws should be influenced by traditional religious...

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4. France: Securitization and Laicite

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pp. 68-89

In Britain, New Labour welcomed religion into the public sphere as a necessary ingredient for the formation of secure, cohesive communities. In France, however, both the secular left and the Republican right/ center right have long held that that the more religion enters into the public...

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5. The United States: “Islam Will Police Itself ”

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pp. 90-114

As Britain and France experimented with ways to bring religion into the public sphere at home, the U.S. began to grapple with the religious dimensions of its new war on terror abroad. As chapter 2 demonstrated, all three states understood themselves to be thrust in the middle of a war of...

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Conclusion: Religion, “The Smartest Power of All”?

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pp. 115-126

This book has examined how three secular Western states grapple with religion’s increasing role in the public sphere. I argued that in the wake of 9/11, all three secular states construct religion, and especially Islam, as a referent object for security. Following the Copenhagen School of security...


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pp. 127-128


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pp. 129-142


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pp. 143-145

E-ISBN-13: 9780472120093
E-ISBN-10: 0472120093
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472119226

Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Configurations: Critical Studies of Worl
See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 871257722
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Securing the Sacred

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