Recognition from other recognized states is the key to becoming a fully fledged member state of the international system. Although many new states are quickly and universally recognized, the recognition of other aspiring states remains highly contested. In these cases of contested sovereignty, some countries but not others extend recognition. However, research on what shapes a country’s decision to recognize a claim to sovereign statehood remains relatively sparse. This article focuses on how religion shapes the incentives of states to extend or withhold recognition to aspiring states in cases of contested sovereignty. It posits two mechanisms, one at the domestic level through religious institutions and one at the international level through transnational religious affinities. The article uses new data on all state decisions regarding the international recognition of Kosovo to test these propositions. The results provide strong support for these two pathways through which religion shapes state decisions regarding international recognition.
- international recognition
- unrecognized states
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations