This is an essay – along with another, by Raymond Boudon – on The Cambridge Companion to Durkheim (2005), edited by Jeffrey Alexander and Philip Smith. With becoming modesty, the editors admit that their argument for a 'cultural turn' in Durkheimian interpretation isn't universally accepted. Yet there is little sign, in their collection, of contributions that dispute their position. Certainly, some of the articles are interesting and stimulating, though others are modest in another sense, even quite flawed – as in some of their ideas about America. True, in his own article, Alexander makes a good enough case for a 'cultural turn'. But he seems unaware of Durkheim's last publication in his lifetime, 'The Politics of the Future' (1917). And in general, it is necessary to challenge 'culturalism'. This essay suggests an alternative, based not only on The Division of Labour, but the continuing relevance of Durkheim's belief in the need for socialism.
Durkheim and Mauss, Religious Speech and Tantric Buddhism
This article, located within the sociology of religion, aims to demonstrate ways in which the insights of Durkheim and Mauss can be applied to the study of tantric Buddhism. In order to do so it explores a specific theme, the significance of speech in religion. I will therefore begin with sections from the recent translation of Mauss's thesis on prayer, highlighting two essential propositions (1909/t.2003). Firstly, Mauss argues that prayer is an extremely diverse phenomenon, which can take a variety of forms. A second, related point is his suggestion that speech is particularly important to our understanding of religion, because it is related to both belief and action. It is this second idea that I will explore extensively in the context of tantric Buddhism because it illuminates a number of features of this religious tradition. In addition, these reflections may contribute to a broader debate, concerning the role of collective representations in the thought of both Durkheim and Mauss.
Vincent Dela Sala
Among the scenarios raised by a more interdependent and open
global economy is one of competition unleashed not only between
states and firms, but also between national systems of corporate
finance and governance. Less than a decade since the specter of a
competition of capitalism against capitalism, the start of the new
decade has seen a widespread belief that the Anglo-Saxon model of
capitalism, with its emphasis on equity markets and shareholder
rights, is the basis for convergence amongst advanced industrialized
societies. More specifically, many argue that Italy has not
escaped this discussion, and the past year has been one rich in
developments that raise questions about the possible changing
nature of the Italian model of capitalism. It is not unfair to ask
whether Italy is moving towards a convergence with the Anglo-
American model of capitalism. The election of Antonio D’Amato as
the new president of Confindustria might provide some insight into
the extent of change in the Italian model of capitalism.
Jewish Museums in Britain
All religions are practised within a larger social context, but different religions may relate to that context in different ways, posing particular issues for the way that religion is communicated through museum display. Christianity, for example, when displayed within a Christian country, will tend to focus upon the specific arena of religiosity. The Jewish minority within the same country is more likely to employ an integrated approach that sets religion within the context of history and social life. This is partly because Judaism is not only a set of beliefs and practices – it is also a way of life. The representation of Judaism therefore presents particular challenges and opportunities within a museum context. This article will provide a case study, focusing on Jewish museums within Britain.
Creed and Cognition in the Fourth Century
Combining history, theology, and the cognitive study of religion, this article offers a new interpretation of the origins and purpose of the fourth-century Trinitarian theology known as Homoianism, suggesting that it aimed to create an “entry-level“ Christianity as a first step in gradually easing polytheists into Christianity. It highlights the polemical nature of Homoianism's characterization as “Arianism,“ and examines the beliefs of Homoianism's proponents, including those of Ulfila, the “apostle of the Goths.“ This article suggests that the Homoian view of the Trinity attempted to map non-Christian intuitions of divinity onto the Christian doctrine of God. It points to Homoianism's Western origins on the Roman Empire's strategically important Danubian frontier, arguing that a Homoian creed should be seen not only in the wider context of the “Arian Controversy,“ but also as part of attempts to ensure the peaceful Romanization of the Goths.
This article examines some of Langlois's major works on nineteenth-century French Catholicism, which taken together suggest a vision langloisienne defined by three central, intimately interrelated insights. First, for Langlois a chronology of French Catholicism based on an assumption of an ineluctable process of dechristianization needs to be replaced by a more nuanced and contingent understanding of the evolution of belief and practice. Second, a revised chronology illuminates important sectors of creative vitality within Catholicism, particularly with regard to female religious congregations. Third, historians of religion must be willing to use a variety of methods in exploring their subject; social scientific approaches are crucial, but they complement rather than replace traditional narrative, biography, and a close reading of literary texts. The article concludes with reflections on the normative posture that is implicit in Langlois's historical writing, a position based on his commitment to the values of toleration and equality.
A Remark on the Invisibility of Ideology in Popular Education
School history atlases are used almost exclusively as required textbooks in Central and Eastern Europe, where the model of the ethnolinguistic nation-state rules supreme. My hypothesis is that these atlases are used in this region because a graphic presentation of the past makes it possible for students to grasp the idea of the presumably "natural" or "inescapable" overlapping of historical, linguistic, and demographic borders, the striving for which produced the present-day ethnolinguistic nation-states. Conversely, school history atlases provide a framework to indoctrinate the student with the beliefs that ethnolinguistic nationalism is the sole correct kind of nationalism, and that the neighboring polities have time and again unjustly denied the "true and natural" frontiers to the student's nation-state.
The Case of Belarus
There is a stereotype that such former Soviet republics as Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are totally Orthodox. However, this statement is not entirely correct, as part of the population in these countries belong to many different churches, while a large part have rather eclectic religious and para-religious beliefs. In the case of Belarus, a major part of the population belongs to two Christian confessions, Orthodox and Catholic, while many other confessions and new religious movements also exist. Religious pluralism is a practical reality in Belarus which has the reputation of the most religiously tolerant post-Soviet country. Contemporary laws provide the legal basis for the tolerant relations in the country, and there is a historical tradition of religious tolerance in Belarus. Research data from the EVS studies and national surveys are used.
Representations of the Shaman in Neo-Shamanism
The author focuses on the term 'shaman' as an analytical category. In academic usage its meaning has come to denote similar tribal beliefs all over the world, while in postmodern discourse the plural 'shamanisms' refers to a range of specific spiritual practices. The diverse movement of neo-shamanism appeared as a product of the interaction of etic and emic categories in anthropological literature, in particular as a result of the shift from the etic to an emic perspective that took place in the last forty or fifty years. The author argues that characterisations of shamans are people's representations rather than objective reality. These representations cannot serve as an explanation of a phenomenon, but themselves need explanation. Research in cognitive psychology could inform understanding of neo-shamanism: it would mean investigation of this social phenomenon as an outcome of the interaction of cognitive processes on the one hand and social inputs on the other.
Yael S. Aronoff
I analyze the actions of Israeli prime ministers in the long-standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, comparing one prime minister who remained hard-line and one who evolved into a peace maker. By examining their belief systems and individual characteristics, I hypothesize the types of hawks that are more likely to change their views of an opponent and convert into peace-makers. Although a change in both the opponent and the environment is necessary for a leader to change his image of an enemy, three additional elements make change more probable: (1) a weak ideological commitment, or a commitment to an ideology that does not have its components articulated as obstacles; (2) a present or future individual time orientation; (3) either a flexible cognitive system or exposure and openness to a significant advisor who has a different view of the opponent.