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Look Inside From Pews to Politics

From Pews to Politics
Religious Sermons and Political Participation in Africa

$39.99 (P)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Publication planned for: September 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from September 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108486576

$ 39.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Does religion influence political participation? This book takes up this pressing debate using Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa as its empirical base to demonstrate that religious teachings communicated in sermons can influence both the degree and the form of citizens' political participation. McClendon and Riedl document some of the current diversity of sermon content in contemporary Christian houses of worship and then use a combination of laboratory experiments, observational survey data, focus groups, and case comparisons in Zambia, Uganda, and Kenya to interrogate the impact of sermon exposure on political participation and the longevity of that impact. Pews to Politics in Africa leverages the pluralism of sermons in sub-Saharan Africa to gain insight into the content of cultural influences and their consequences for how ordinary citizens participate in politics.

    • Brings together literature on political participation, political communication, and political methodology with literature on religion
    • Includes interdisciplinary perspectives, showing connections across research that the reader might not have put together
    • Uses a mixed methods strategy to support the main arguments, including content analysis, experiments, survey analysis, focus groups and case studies
    • Introduces the reader, in clear and accessible language, to a new set of arguments, with new empirical implications
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This deeply insightful, empirically rigorous, persuasive analysis demonstrates the influence of Christian sermons in Anglophone Africa. These teachings differ by denomination and context, serving as distinct interpretative maps that diagnose political problems - and suggest very different solutions.' Anna Grzymala-Busse, Stanford University, California

    'McClendon and Riedl have written an excellent and innovative book, in which they set out to discover whether religious teachings - even when not overtly political - shape political behavior. The authors’ deep knowledge of context and cases, combined with careful data and methods, show that religious ideas do have political effects, with implications for the culture of democracy.' Melani Cammett, Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs, Harvard University, Massachusetts

    'In this masterful account, McClendon and Riedl achieve something of the holy grail in religion and politics research … Scholars new and old will learn a tremendous amount from this important work, and work going forward will have to grapple with its lessons.' Paul Djupe, Denison University, Ohio

    'Religious messages are ubiquitous in Africa, yet little is known about how exposure to religious messages shapes political behavior. McClendon and Riedl fill this gap with an insightful and deeply illuminating analysis of the impact of this exposure. From Pews to Politics is a great book: theoretically grounded, empirically rich, and methodologically sophisticated.' Daniel N. Posner, James S. Coleman Professor of International Development, University of California, Los Angeles

    'From Pews to Politics makes an outstanding contribution to research on religion and politics. By meticulously applying an impressive array of empirical approaches, [it] convincingly demonstrates that Christian denominations' differing emphasis on individual agency affects adherents’ willingness to participate in politics and to seek structural change.' Kimuli Kasara, Columbia University, New York

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: September 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108486576
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • contains: 33 b/w illus. 21 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from September 2019
  • Table of Contents

    1. Religion as metaphysical instruction, and its influence on political participation
    2. Christianity and politics in Africa
    3. Differences in contemporary Christian sermon content
    4. Effects of sermons on citizens: evidence from the lab
    5. Recharging sermon influence: evidence from surveys and focus groups
    6. Group-level political engagement
    7. Implications and conclusions.

  • Authors

    Gwyneth H. McClendon, New York University
    Gwyneth H. McClendon is Assistant Professor of Politics at New York University and the author of Envy in Politics (2018). She has published numerous articles on political psychology, religion, and political participation, in the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the Quarterly Journal of Political Science, and Comparative Political Studies among other journals.

    Rachel Beatty Riedl, Northwestern University, Illinois
    Rachel Beatty Riedl is Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of the Program of African Studies, and a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, Illinois. She is the author of the award-winning Authoritarian Origins of Democratic Party Systems in Africa (Cambridge, 2014). Riedl is the Chair of the Comparative Democratization section of the American Political Science Association and member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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