As the Ottoman Empire crumbled, the Middle East and Balkans became
the site of contestation and cooperation between the traditional
forces of religion and the emergent machine of the sovereign state.
Yet such strategic interaction rarely yielded a decisive victory
for either the secular state or for religion. By tracing how
state-builders engaged religious institutions, elites, and
attachments, this book problematizes the divergent religion-state
power configurations that have developed. There are two central
arguments. First, states carved out more sovereign space in places
like Greece and Turkey, where religious elites were integral to
early centralizing reform processes. Second, region-wide structural
constraints on the types of linkages that states were able to build
with religion have generated long-term repercussions. Fatefully,
both state policies that seek to facilitate equality through the
recognition of religious difference and state policies that seek to
eradicate such difference have contributed to failures of liberal
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