PS, Volume 16, Issue 3 (September 2018)
by Caterina Froio
When debates about Islam acquire importance in the public sphere, does the far right adhere to traditional racist arguments, risking marginalization, or does it conform to mainstream values to attain legitimacy in the political system? Focusing on the aftermath of the 2015 terrorist attacks in France, I explore the framing of Islam, discussing how the far right’s nativist arguments were reformulated to engage with available discursive opportunities and dominant conceptions of the national identity. By looking at actors in the protest and the electoral arenas, I examine the interplay between the choice of anti-Islam frames and baseline national values.
I offer a novel mixed-method approach to study political discourses, combining social network analysis of the links between seventy-seven far-right websites with a qualitative frame analysis of online material. It also includes measures of online visibility of these websites to assess their audiences. The results confirm that anti-Islam frames are couched along a spectrum of discursive opportunity, where actors can either opt to justify opposition to Islam based on interpretations of core national values (culture and religion) or mobilize on strictly oppositional values (biological racism). The framing strategy providing most online visibility is based on neo-racist arguments. While this strategy allows distortion of baseline national values of secularity and republicanism, without breaching the social contract, it is also a danger for organizations that made “opposition to the system” their trademark. While the results owe much to the French context, the conclusions draw broader implications as to the far right going mainstream.
Authors: Allen D. Hertzke, Laura R. Olson, Kevin R. den Dulk, and Robert Booth Fowler
Religion and politics are never far from the headlines, but their relationship remains complex and often confusing. This book offers an engaging, accessible, and balanced treatment of religion in American politics. It explores the historical, cultural, and legal contexts that motivate religious political engagement and assesses the pragmatic and strategic political realities that religious organizations and people face. Incorporating the best and most current scholarship, the authors examine the evolving politics of Roman Catholics; evangelical and mainline Protestants; African-American and Latino traditions; Jews, Muslims, and other religious minorities; recent immigrants and religious “nones”; and other conventional and not-so-conventional American religious movements.
New to the Sixth Edition
• Covers the 2016 election and assesses the role of religion from Obama to Trump.
• Expands substantially on religion’s relationship to gender and sexuality, race, ethnicity, and class, and features the role of social media in religious mobilization.
• Adds discussion questions at the end of every chapter, to help students gain deeper understanding of the subject.
• Adds a new concluding chapter on the normative issues raised by religious political engagement, to stimulate lively discussions.
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By Andrew R. Lewis:
A couple months ago, I asked for forthcoming books on religion and politics so that we could help promote them. I’m excited to release the first iteration.
These are some exciting books, and I am hopeful that it helps spread the word about the great work being done. Please share with your networks!
We will do this again in the summer. If you have a book that is about to be released, …
See more of the books here.
Religion in Public – “exploring the mix of sacred and secular”
“Purpose – To connect academic research to the everyday. We aim to share new findings and give notice to new ways of thinking about the public presence of religion.”