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Paradoxical Relationship Between Ethnoreligious Politics

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The globalization process of the 1980s associated with economic, social and political changes caused by the emergence of a “ global social space, where borderless interactions and interdependencies develop between persons” (Gayer, 2002: 2). There is a struggle between the forces of globalization and the local assertions of identity and culture. The space for ethnicity in world politics is being contested as a matter of right by the diasporic ethnicity. The globalization process as a major force of influence affects the new politics of space, culture and identity of diasporic communities as the embodiment of the postmodern world.

The transnational civil society, in its new avatar, comprises individuals, groups and organizations in different countries that work together across borders in pursuance of common goals. Religious affiliations provide a connection to homogenous religious groups and sentimental resources to people who adhere to parochialism, ethno-religious nationalism and identity they can take pride in. The new sociopolitical forms of engagement brought about by the slow transformation of the old into the new have redefined the social and political conventions associated with the nation-state.

The new order has undermined many of the traditional pillars of a secular nation-state. The concepts like national sovereignty, economic autonomy, and socio-religious identity have all undergone a change. In light of these changes, the paper will analyze the ever-changing genre of the relationship between the state and the transnational religious groups producing a profound change in international relations. A transnational religious actor is a non-governmental individual or a group with specific religious affiliations which has relations with an actor in another country or with an international organization. Jeffrey Haynes (2007) defines a transnational religious actor as one who seeks to influence international politics through the exercise of ‘ soft power’ which according to Joseph Nye (Nye 2003) is direct and often cultural or ideological influences or encouragement (Haynes, 2007: 40).

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