Brendan Szendrő, PhD
Faculty Lecturer, Political Science
I believe in utilizing mixed-methods approaches to craft studies with robust theories and straightforward results. To that end, I draw on interdisciplinary literature, extensive case study, and quantitative analysis. As a result, my research explores a wide range of topics that remain rooted in the facts on the ground. These studies deliver socially-conscious findings with practical applications. It is imperative to me as a researcher to generate material that is useful to academics, policymakers, and the public alike.
At the same time, these studies probe deep questions of human belonging, and what it means to belong in a rapidly changing world. In effect, belonging is not just an incentive - it's the incentive, and the key to navigating the globalized world of the 21st century. I am especially drawn to the legacy of religious institutions. Each of my studies falls within the purview of a handful of projects that tackle a broad theme. I have included an overview of these projects here.
1. "Community, Faith, and Public Violence: A county-level examination of religious institutions and mass public shootings in the United States." Journal of Crime and Justice, doi: 10.1080/0735648X.2021.1990786.
2. "Suicide, Social Capital, and Hate Groups in the United States." World Affairs, doi: 10.1177/00438200211053889.
1. "Religious Resurgence as Reaction to Globalization."
2. "Defining the Contours of Desecularization: A multilevel analysis of secularism and prejudice."
3. "No Politics Under God: Party contestation and religion-state relations."
4. "Divided We Fall: Fractionalization and the Religious-Nationalist Resurgence in Israel."
My book-length dissertation, entitled Religion, State, and Modernity: Defining the Contours of Desecularization, uses mixed-methods to analyze the multifaceted relationship between religion and state in the age of globalization. Through a combination of archival research, case study, and quantitative analysis, I find that globalization has decreased positive religious activity, such as service attendance, and facilitated negative religious activity, in the form of attacks on non-believers. A working paper based on this project is set to be presented at the 2021 International Studies Association Conference. You can read the working paper here.
Religion and State in the Age of Globalization
In this project, I expand on the ideas offered in my dissertation to explore the multifaceted relationship between religion, state, and globalization. Religion and state have long competed for adherents, and globalization has shifted the balance. All too often, the heft of this power struggle falls on the heads of minority communities. This project integrates literature across a wide range of fields to illustrate how religion has changed in a globalized world and how government reacts. As the project expands, I will further examine multilateral shifts that facilitate these trends, focusing on the role of urbanization and migration.
Social Capital In a Changing World
Social capital refers to a community's capacity for collective action. The loss of social capital is associated with all manner of social ills; nevertheless, it remains an underutilized instrument in the social sciences. In this project, I explore both how social capital can prevent social ills as well as the consequences of ignoring social capital as a quintessential political element.
In the future I would like to integrate the above projects into a comprehensive typology of political communities and their reactions to systemic changes such as globalization; as part of this long-term plan, I hope to further incorporate qualitative methods such as participant observation and interview research. In doing so, I hope to create a blueprint for compromise and coordination between political communities that must work together despite contradictory goals. I have also spent several years developing a framework for an eventual, comprehensive work surrounding the relationship between religion and state, and how this dynamic has changed over time.