A Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion

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Equinox, 2012 - Social Science - 203 pages
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Societies are never ordered in ways that serve everyone's interests equally. If we understand religious traditions as creating, reproducing, and even contesting our social orders, then to study religion effectively is to examine who benefits and who does not from the way society is organized. We must also explore how social structures are legitimated, maintained and contested by religious beliefs, actions, and institutions. A Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion explains the key terms and methods in the study of religion and demonstrates how they can be used. The aim is to provide students with a tool-kit of critical concepts for studying the role of religion in society. The critical concepts draw on sociological, cultural and anthropological thinking and include: classification and essentialism; naturalization and mystification; legitimation and social reproduction; habitus and normalization; and repression and domination. A Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion offers students a fruitful and potentially radical way of analysing religion, both past and present.

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About the author (2012)

Craig Martin is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at St. Thomas Aquinas College, New York and Executive Secretary of the North American Association for the Study of Religion. He is author of Masking Hegemony: A Genealogy of Liberalism, Religion and the Private Sphere and editor of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion.

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