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Bülent Diken

interested in tracing the surface between cinematic and social theoretical ideas, their ‘compossibility’. These ideas emerge from the themes that Winter Sleep deals with: religion, the relationship between religion and capitalism, symbolic exchange, and

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Paul Christopher Johnson

Diaspora, and with it 'diasporic religion', has exploded as an area of research in the field of Religion, opening important paths of inquiry and analysis. This article traces the itineraries and intersections of Diaspora and Religion over the last two decades, especially vis-à-vis groups that activate multiple diasporic horizons. It then evaluates the risks of the overdispersion of Diaspora. To counter this, the article recommends more narrowly circumscribing Diasporic Religion in relation to 'territory', while at the same time rendering the question of what territoriality means more complex and diverse.

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Zdeněk R. Nešpor

The Czech Republic is widely known as 'the least religious' country in the world. However, Czechs might be considered unchurched rather than nonreligious, with various forms of modern New Age spirituality steadily gaining in popularity. The question is, therefore, what is the position of religion - both 'traditional' and 'new' - within a 'non-believing' society? The article commences with a presentation of data taken from two recent sociological surveys on religion, but the author mainly exploits ethnographical research carried out in the medium-sized Czech town of Česká Lípa to address the issue. This research examined both 'old' and 'new' church religion, 'alternative' spiritual outlets, and the religious attitudes of the general population. The author concludes that the traditional religionists of various denominations, followers of the New Age movement(s), and the 'rest' of the population can be seen as three distinctive groups within society and that mutual understanding and acceptance are practically non-existent.

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How Do Religions End?

Theorizing Religious Traditions from the Point of View of How They Disappear

Joel Robbins

What does it mean for a new religion to arise or take hold among a group of people? What does it mean for a religious tradition to endure? These are questions that are quite commonly addressed, at least implicitly, in the study of religion. Less frequently asked is the question of what it means for a religious tradition to come to an end. This article addresses this question, paying particular attention to the ways people actively dismantle a religious tradition that previously shaped their lives. I also consider what studying the process of religious disappearance can teach us about what it means for a tradition to arise and endure, arguing that a grasp on processes of religious dissolution is necessary for a fully rounded approach to the study of religious change. Throughout the article, I illustrate my arguments with material from the study of Christianity, Judaism and indigenous religious traditions, particularly from Oceania.

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Carles Salazar

Recent cognitive and evolutionary approaches to the study of religion have been seen by many as a naturalistic alternative to conventional anthropological interpretations. Whereas anthropologists have traditionally accounted for the existence of religion in terms of social and cultural determinants, cognitive scientists have emphasized the innate—that is pre-cultural—constraints placed by natural selection on the formation and acquisition of religious ideas. This article provides a critical assessment of the main theoretical proposals put forward by cognitive scientists and suggests possible interactions, perhaps interdependencies, with more standard anthropological sensibilities, especially between cognitive and evolutionary perspectives that see religion as a by-product of innate psychological dispositions and anthropological approaches that take the 'meaningful' nature of religious symbols as their point of departure.

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What Do Religions Actually Fight About?

A Durkheimian Perspective

Bruno Karsenti

In this article, I use a reading of The Elementary Forms of Religious Life to show the relevance of the sociological point of view developed by Durkheim in the analysis and understanding of issues related to the religious conflicts that affect contemporary societies. In particular, I focus on the definition of the critical social function of religion, based on a certain conception of the necessities of action in society and on a gradual transformation of the idea of salvation into a secular context.

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Alexander Gofman

In tracking Durkheim's Russian career, this article first explores Russian sociology during his lifetime, emphasizing its internationalism and noting Russian-related reviews in the Année sociologique. It then focuses on the issue of religion, to compare his approach with contemporary Russian trends, especially bogoyiskatielstvo (god quest) and bogostroyitielstvo (god building). In concluding with the Russian reception of his last great work, Les Formes élémentaires, it contrasts the circumstances before and after his death, the year of the Bolshevik Revolution, and especially compares the responses of Nikolai Berdyaev and Pitirim Sorokin.

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David Chidester

In 2003, after more than 10 years of policy debate and public controversy, the South African minister of education announced a new policy for religion and education that distinguished between religious interests, which are best served by religious communities, and educational objectives for teaching and learning about religion, religions, and religious diversity that should be served by the curriculum of public schools. This article locates South Africa's new policy for religion and education in relation to attempts to redefine the role of the state in the transition from apartheid to democracy. The policy emerged within a new constitutional framework, which ensured freedom for religious expression and freedom from religious discrimination, but also within the context of state initiatives to affirm cultural diversity and mobilize unifying resources for social transformation. Accordingly, this article examines South Africa's policy for religion and public education as an index for understanding post-apartheid efforts in redefining the state as a constitutional, cultural, and transformative state.

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Shahid Najeeb

The central thesis of this article is that psychoanalysis is an organic offshoot of that evolutionary process called religion. As such it has more in common with the world's religions than it would care to admit. Nor would the world's religions feel particularly excited about admitting psychoanalysis in their midst, for its inclusion forces a rethinking of their place in human development. Using Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale," the author looks at the pain of human existence and how it has resulted in the concepts of soul, God, and immortality. The nature of sentience—being aware of one's awareness—is examined. The article asserts that psychoanalysis is the process by which the soul examines itself, thought examines thinking, and life examines its meaning. The author describes religion, soul theory, and psychoanalysis as having evolved naturally and necessarily from human existence and experience, and views them as necessary dimensions of existence.

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The Concept of Religion in Meiji Popular Discourse

An Analysis of the Newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun

Makoto Harris Takao

This article challenges claims that the Japanese neologism shūkyō (as a translation for “religion”) lacked an established nature prior to the twentieth century and had little to do with experiences of the urban masses. It accordingly problematizes the term as a largely legal concept, highlighting historical newspapers as underutilized sources that offer insight into Meiji popular discourse and attendant conceptualizations of “religion.” This article endorses a shift in both our chronological understanding of shūkyō’s conceptual history as well as its sociocultural mobility. By expanding the milieu understood as being familiar with debates on a range of “religious” issues, this article thereby offers a counter-narrative in which regular use of shūkyō begins to clearly emerge from the mid-1880s, exponentially increasing with the following decades.