The theory of secularisation became a virtually unchallenged truth of twentieth-century social science. First sketched out by Enlightenment philosophers, then transformed into an irreversible global process by nineteenth-century thinkers, the theory was given substance by the precipitate drop in religious practice across Western Europe in the 1960s. However, the re-emergence of acute conflicts at the interface between religion and politics has confounded such assumptions. It is clear that these ideas must be rethought. Yet, as this distinguished, international team of scholars reveal, not everything contained in the idea of secularisation was false. Analyses of developments since 1500 reveal a wide spectrum of historical processes: partial secularisation in some spheres has been accompanied by sacralisation in others. Utilising new approaches derived from history, philosophy, politics and anthropology, the essays collected in Religion and the Political Imagination offer new ways of thinking about the urgency of religious issues in the contemporary world.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of pages: 394
Weight: 620 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
'The studies making up the collection are motivated by a shared concern to question the unilinear understanding of secularization which forms the weighty heritage of Emile Durkheim and Max Weber to social theory. In pursuit of this revisionist approach the studies that make up the collection put forward many well informed readings of the understanding and the experience of religion in the collective life of societies. Some contributions fall squarely within the field of the history of political thought ... Other studies in the collection focus on classic historical cases of secularization and the interplay of politics and religion in the life of great imperial polities.' Paschalis M. Kitromilides, History of Political Thought