Religion in the Contemporary World

A Sociological Introduction
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In the new edition of this widely praised text, Alan Aldridge examines the complex realities of religious belief, practice and institutions. Religion is a powerful and controversial force in the contemporary world, even in supposedly secular societies.
Preface to the Third Edition viii
Acknowledgements x
1 Defining Religion: Social Confl icts and Sociological Debates 1
Scientology: authentic religion or imposture? 3
Baha'i: world faith or apostasy? 7
Religion and the state 8
Advantages of being recognized as a religion 13
Disadvantages of status as a religion 17
Defining people as religious 20
Max Weber: on not defining religion 22
Émile Durkheim: defining religion sociologically 24
Contemporary sociological definitions of religion 26
A Wittgensteinian approach 30
Further reading 34
2 Secularization: The Social Insignifi cance of Religion? 35
Karl Marx and the projection theory of religion 35
Émile Durkheim and the social functions of religion 38
Max Weber and the disenchantment of the world 41
Defining secularization 49
Secularization from within 50
Decline of community 52
Marginalization of charisma 54
Cultural amnesia 56
Pluralization, relativism and consumer choice 57
Reason, rationality and science 59
A consensus on dystopia? 64
Further reading 64
3 Secularization Challenged: A New Paradigm? 66
A secularization theorist recants 66
A new paradigm 67
Voluntarism according to Talcott Parsons 69
The demand for religion: a rational choice? 73
The supply of religion: the benefi ts of competition? 75
Strict churches and free-riders 80
The Mormons: a new world faith? 83
Jehovah's Witnesses: overcoming the failure of prophecy 88
The new paradigm and the rise of the megachurches 91
The Pentecostals 93
Further reading 95
4 Dangerous Religions? Sects, Cults and Brainwashing 97
Classifying Christian movements 97
New religious movements 101
Dynamics of change 107
The rise of 'brainwashing' 115
Identifying potentially destructive movements 119
The fall of 'brainwashing' 126
Further reading 129
5 Dangerous Religions? Fundamentalism 131
Bible believers 132
Fundamentalism and monotheism 134
Features of fundamentalism 138
Islamophobia 142
Further reading 147
6 Civil Religion and Political Ritual 148
Ritual and social integration: the legacy of Durkheim 148
'In God We Trust': civil religion in the United States 149
The European Union: symbols of an unfi nished project 154
Symbolic division in society: the peace process in Northern Ireland 155
Political religion in an atheist society: the Soviet Union 157
Political religion and charismatic leadership: Nazi Germany 161
Character and society 163
Further reading 164
7 Gender and Sexuality 165
The subordination of women 165
Reclaiming the symbols of subordination 171
Gender-blind religions? 174
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identities 177
Further reading 179
8 The Spiritual Revolution 181
Georg Simmel: an alternative classical view 181
Believing without belonging 183
From religion to spirituality? 186
A new age? 191
Pagans 193
Religion online and online religion 195
Individualism and the crisis of religious authority 197
Religion in consumer society 203
Lived religion and sociological analysis 205
Further reading 206
9 The Challenge of Diversity 208
The debate about multiculturalism 208
French culture and the veiling of women 210
A clash of civilizations? 212
The challenge of diversity 214
Grassroots responses to diversity 220
Afterword: a culture war? 224
Further reading 226
References 227
Index 247
In the new edition of this widely praised text, Alan Aldridge examines the complex realities of religious belief, practice and institutions. Religion is a powerful and controversial force in the contemporary world, even in supposedly secular societies. Almost all societies seek to cultivate religions and faith communities as sources of social stability and engines of social progress. They also try to combat real and imagined abuses and excess, regulating cults that brainwash vulnerable people, containing fundamentalism that threatens democracy and the progress of science, and identifying terrorists who threaten atrocities in the name of religion.
The third edition has been carefully revised to make sure it is fully up to date with recent developments and debates. Major themes in the revised edition include the recently erupted 'culture war' between progressive secularists and conservative believers, the diverse manifestations of 'fundamentalism' and their impact on the wider society, new individual forms of religious expression in opposition to traditional structures of authority, and the backlash against 'multiculturalism' with its controversial implications for the social integration of ethnic and religious minority communities. Impressive in its scholarly analysis of a vibrant and challenging aspect of human societies, the third edition will appeal strongly to students taking courses in the sociology of religion and religious studies, as well as to everyone interested in the place of religion in the contemporary world.
Autor: Alan Aldridge
Alan Aldridge is former reader in the sociology of culture at the University of Nottingham.

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Autor: Alan Aldridge
ISBN-13 :: 9780745653471
ISBN: 0745653472
Erscheinungsjahr: 25.01.2013
Verlag: Polity Press
Gewicht: 430g
Seiten: 256
Sprache: Englisch
Auflage 3rd Edition
Sonstiges: Taschenbuch, 228x153x20 mm
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