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Friday, January 13, 2012

Political Science and Religion

The role of religion in American public life is a major theme of our text. That aspect of the book is a bit unusual in the discipline of political science. Steven Kettell, associate professor of politics and international studies at the University of Warwick, summarizes the literature at PS: Political Science and Politics:
A common complaint from political scientists involved in the study of religion is that religious issues have been largely overlooked by political science. Through a content analysis of leading political science and sociology journals from 2000 to 2010, this article considers the extent of this claim. The results show that political science publications involving religious topics have been significantly fewer than those engaging with subjects typically regarded as being more central to the discipline, and markedly less numerous than religious articles in leading sociology publications. Where political science publications have engaged with religious issues, these articles have also focused on a limited number of subject areas and been concentrated in specific disciplinary subfields. The proportion of articles covering religion has shown no real increase since the turn of the century. These findings underpin calls for political scientists to take religious issues more seriously.