The separation—and combination—of religion and state have created almost as many configurations as there are states in the world today. All sorts of institutional and normative orders have emerged out of the struggle and cooperation of state and religious forces. Even in the United States, with its purported strict separation of state and religion and its constitutional prohibition against the state’s establishment of any single religion, all sorts of complicated relationships have existed, from the status of Christmas as an official state holiday to the religious invocations delivered in Congress. … All this is to say that any simple categorization of states as simply secular or religious will probably miss what is most interesting in how citizens experience daily life and how the religious and political realms are intertwined. [...]Read the rest of Disentangling Islam and the post-colonial state.
Joel S. Migdal
Joel S. Migdal is the Robert F. Philip Professor of International Studies in the University of Washington's Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. He is the author of Peasants, Politics, and Revolution; Palestinian Society and Politics; Strong Societies and Weak States; State in Society; Through the Lens of Israel; The Palestinian People: A History (with Baruch Kimmerling); and, Boundaries and Belonging.