The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion

The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion

The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion

The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion

Synopsis

Reflecting the very latest developments in the field, the New Companion provides a comprehensive introduction to the sociology of religion with a clear emphasis on comparative and historical approaches.
  • Covers major debates in secularization theory, rational choice theory, feminism and the body
  • Takes a multidisciplinary approach, covering history, sociology, anthropology, and religious studies
  • International in its scope, covering American exceptionalism, Native American spirituality, and China, Europe, and Southeast Asia
  • Offers discussions on the latest developments, including "megachurches", spirituality, post-secular society and globalization

Excerpt

In the modern world, religion, contrary to the conventional understanding of modernization as secularization, continues to play a major role in politics, society and culture. Indeed that role appears if anything to be increasing rather than decreasing and hence in recent years that has been a flurry of academic activity around such ideas as “political religion,” “religious nationalism,” and “post-secular society.” In broad terms, religion appears to be increasingly an important component of public culture rather than a matter of private belief and practice (Casanova 1994). Of course the salience of religion in modern culture depends a great deal on which society we are looking at. Religion – in the form of Pentecostalism, fundamentalism, charismatic movements, and revivalism – appears to be flourishing in much of South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Religions are also reviving under the somewhat more liberal government policies of contemporary China and Vietnam. However in Europe and North America the growth of diasporic communities with large religious minorities is also changing the cultural map of what were thought to be predominantly secular societies. There is naturally the temptation to think that after 9/11 and the terrorist bombings in London, Madrid, and elsewhere that the revival of interest in religion is in fact a function of the political importance of understanding Islam as the Terror in the Mind of God (Juergensmeyer, 2003). There has indeed been a growth of scholarly interest in Islam, including the study of “radical Islam,” “political Islam,” and so forth, but one ought to avoid such narrow, popular and often prejudicial labels when considering Islamic revivalism. In most Muslim societies, there is very little evidence of political radicalism and on the contrary Islamic revivalism is not necessarily connected with youth alienation or anti-modern attitudes (Pew Research Center 2007). It is important for academics to avoid such popular, prejudicial, and political attitudes. The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion attempts to understand and describe the prominence of . . .

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