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Getting Religion: Has Political Science Rediscovered the Faith Factor?

  • KENNETH D. WALD (a1) and CLYDE WILCOX (a2)

To judge by the absence of religion from the pages of the American Political Science Review in its first century, most political scientists have embraced a secular understanding of the political world. We explore the evolving status of religion in the discipline by examining patterns of scholarly inquiry in the discipline's flagship journal. After finding religion an (at best) marginal topic and rejecting some plausible hypotheses for this outcome, we examine the major reasons religion has received so little attention—the intellectual origins of the discipline, the social background of practitioners, the complexity of religious measurements, and the event-driven agenda of political science. Despite the resurgence of scholarly interest in religion during the 1980s, the status of the subfield remains tenuous because of the intellectual isolation of research on the topic.

Corresponding author
Kenneth D. Wald is Distinguished Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Florida, P.O. Box 117325, Gainesville, FL 32611 (
Clyde Wilcox is Professor, Department of Government, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057 (
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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
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