Politics and Religion in Central and Eastern Europe: Traditions and Transitions

By William H. Swatos Jr | Go to book overview

Preface

This book has its origin in two contexts: first, a desire to promote cooperative ventures between the Association for the Sociology of Religion ( ASR) and Research Committee 22 (sociology of religion) of the International Sociological Association (ISA) - particularly through the good work of Roberto Cipriani, first as secretary and subsequently as president of Research Committee 22; second, the realities of total system change in what used to be termed in the West the "Iron Curtain" countries. At the urging of Jerry Pankhurst, especially, the ASR made this concern a priority at the turn of the decade of the 1990s.

Thus it was for jointly sponsored ISA-22 sessions at the Pittsburgh meeting of the ASR in 1992 that the majority of these chapters were first written. Not by any means are all the papers then presented included here. A few of the present chapters were initially done for the meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR) later in that year and came to me through the good offices of Eileen Barker, then president of the SSSR, and David Bromley, editor of that association's fine journal. In sum, this book is a testimony to interorganizational cooperation and to a growing "globality" in the sociology of religion.

In the introduction to my volume A Future for Religion? ( 1993), I stated that I was intentionally excluding the fast-breaking Central and Eastern European area from that book. The reason was that change is happening so fast that it is difficult to develop a research agenda of the kind that each chapter of that book was intended to provide. This is still true. The book now in your hands is very much a slice in time. Only perhaps twenty years hence will we have a sufficient longitudinal perspective to speak about "trends" in Eastern and Central European religion. We shall do this more authoritatively, however, the more of

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