Religion in the Contemporary World A Sociological Introduction

ISBN-10: 0745653472

ISBN-13: 9780745653471

Edition: 3rd 2013

Authors: Alan Aldridge

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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. 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.
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Book details

List price: $39.95
Edition: 3rd
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: Polity Press
Publication date: 1/25/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

Preface to the Third Edition
Defining Religion: Social Conflicts and Sociological Debates
Scientology: authentic religion or imposture?
Baha'i: world faith or apostasy?
Religion and the state
Advantages of being recognized as a religion
Disadvantages of status as a religion
Defining people as religious
Max Weber: on not defining religion
�mile Durkheim: defining religion sociologically
Contemporary sociological definitions of religion
A Wittgensteinian approach
Further reading
Secularization: The Social Insignificance of Religion?
Karl Marx and the projection theory of religion
�mile Durkheim and the social functions of religion
Max Weber and the disenchantment of the world
Defining secularization
Secularization from within
Decline of community
Marginalization of charisma
Cultural amnesia
Pluralization, relativism and consumer choice
Reason, rationality and science
A consensus on dystopia?
Further reading
Secularization Challenged: A New Paradigm?
A secularization theorist recants
A new paradigm
Voluntarism according to Talcott Parsons
The demand for religion: a rational choice?
The supply of religion: the benefits of competition?
Strict churches and free-riders
The Mormons: a new world faith?
Jehovah's Witnesses: overcoming the failure of prophecy
The new paradigm and the rise of the megachurches
The Pentecostals
Further reading
Dangerous Religions? Sects, Cults and Brainwashing
Classifying Christian movements
New religious movements
Dynamics of change
The rise of 'brainwashing'
Identifying potentially destructive movements
The fall of 'brainwashing'
Further reading
Dangerous Religions? Fundamentalism
Bible believers
Fundamentalism and monotheism
Features of fundamentalism
Further reading
Civil Religion and Political Ritual
Ritual and social integration: the legacy of Durkheim
'In God We Trust': civil religion in the United States
The European Union: symbols of an unfinished project
Symbolic division in society: the peace process in Northern Ireland
Political religion in an atheist society: the Soviet Union
Political religion and charismatic leadership: Nazi Germany
Character and society
Further reading
Gender and Sexuality
The subordination of women
Reclaiming the symbols of subordination
Gender-blind religions?
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identities
Further reading
The Spiritual Revolution
Georg Simmel: an alternative classical view
Believing without belonging
From religion to spirituality?
A new age?
Religion online and online religion
Individualism and the crisis of religious authority
Religion in consumer society
Lived religion and sociological analysis
Further reading
The Challenge of Diversity
The debate about multiculturalism
French culture and the veiling of women
A clash of civilizations?
The challenge of diversity
Grassroots responses to diversity
Afterword: a culture war?
Further reading
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