In the Caucasus region, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and their powerful neighbours Russia, Turkey, Iran and the EU negotiate their future policies and spheres of influence. This volume explores the role of religion in the South Caucasus to describe and explain how transnational religious relationships intermingle with transnational political relationships. The concept of ‘soft power’ is the heuristic starting point of this important investigation to define the importance of religion in the region.
Drawing on a three-year project supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the book brings together academics from the South Caucasus and across Europe to offer original empirical research and contributions from experienced researchers in political science, history and oriental studies.
This book will be of interest to scholars in the fields of post-Soviet studies, international relations, religious studies and political science.
Table of Contents
Religion and Soft Power in the South Caucasus: An Introduction
Part I: The Case of Georgia
Chapter 1: Turkish Soft Power Politics in Georgia: Making Sense of Political and Cultural Implications
Chapter 2: Common Faith in Scrutiny: Orthodoxy as Soft Power in Russia-Georgia Relations
Chapter 3: Iran’s Soft Power Policy in Georgia
Part II: The Case of Azerbaijan
Chapter 4: Iranian Soft Power in Azerbaijan—Does Religion Matter?
Chapter 5: Examining Salafism in Azerbaijan: Transnational Connections and Local Context
Chapter 6: Islam and Turkey’s Soft Power in Azerbaijan: the Gülen Movement
Part III: The Case of Armenia
Chapter 7: Religion as a Factor in Kurdish Identity Discourse in Armenia and Turkey
Chapter 8: Iran’s Soft Power Policy in Armenia: Cultural Diplomacy and Religion
Part IV: The EU – Russia Framework
Chapter 9: Face to Face with Conservative Religious Values: Assessing the EU’s Normative Impact in the South Caucasus
Chapter 10: Russia as a Counter-Normative Soft Power: Between Ideology and Policy
Part V: Prospects
Chapter 11: Prospects for Thinking Soft Power beyond Joseph Nye
Ansgar Jödicke is a senior lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland. His areas of research are religion and politics, in particular political religious education (politics) in Europe and the relationship between religion and politics in the South Caucasus. Together with Alexander Agadjanian and Evert van der Zweerde, he recently edited the volume Religion, Nation and Democracy in the South Caucasus (2015). Ansgar Jödicke has coordinated several research projects in the South Caucasus and in Switzerland. Among them, the SCOPES project ‘Religion and Soft Power. Religious Communities in the South Caucasus as Objects of External Influences’ (2014–2017) led to the results published in this volume.