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The Varieties of Religious RepressionWhy Governments Restrict Religion$
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Ani Sarkissian

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199348084

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199348084.001.0001

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Religion, Rights, and Repression

(p.1) 1 Introduction
The Varieties of Religious Repression

Ani Sarkissian

Oxford University Press

This chapter defines religious repression as the nonviolent suppression of civil and political rights and traces how it has become more common than violent persecution in recent years. It introduces the main questions the book seeks to answer, including why repression of religious groups varies across nondemocratic states and how political leaders decide how many and which religious groups to target with repressive policies. Combining scholarship on authoritarian regimes and rational choice perspectives on religion, it outlines a general theory of religious repression that explains its variation according to the interaction of levels of political competition and the structure of religious divisions in societies governed by nondemocratic regimes. It identifies religious repression as a means for states to control and suppress oppositional religious groups, an important part of civil society.

Keywords:   religious repression, authoritarian regimes, civil society, rational choice, civil rights

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