Religious persecution in cross-national context: Clashing civilizations or regulated religious economies?

Brian J. Grim, Roger Finke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


Despite the high visibility of religiously charged international social, conflicts, the unique role of religion often is overlooked in social science research and theory. Some studies ignore religion, others conflate religion with other identities. Virtually all lack adequate data. We respond to these deficiencies by testing a theory-driven model of a particular form of social conflict, religious persecution. We investigate the proposition that religious regulation leads to religious persecution. Using measures coded from the 2003 International Religious Freedom Reports, we consider how both social regulation and government regulation of religion in 143 countries affect the level of religious persecution. We also consider and test competing hypotheses, particularly Huntington's clash-of-civilizations thesis. We find strong support for the religious economies arguments and only limited support for the clash-of-civilizations thesis and other competing arguments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-658
Number of pages26
JournalAmerican sociological review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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