Religion in the Contemporary World

Religion in the Contemporary World

3.85 (35 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this wide-ranging and accessible book, Alan Aldridge reviews the contribution sociologists have made to our understanding of the role of religion in society. The founders of sociology thought that religion and magic were being replaced by science and technology. Some, such as Marx, saw this as a liberation. Others, including Comte, invented substitute religions, none of which has survived. Today many sociologists believe religion has lost social significance. Yet current affairs and everyday experience provide evidence of religion's continuing importance. The book examines the resurgence of fundamentalism in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It also explores the reasons why conservative movements such as Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons have been so successful in gaining recruits. A conventional view of sexuality and gender roles is a striking feature of all these movements. The rise of consumer society does not necessarily spell the end of religion. A growing number of sociologists argue that religion benefits from a free market, where religious 'firms' are sensitive to their customers' needs.
Consumerism, Aldridge suggests, may bring a religious revival and an evolution of new forms of religion fit for a new millennium.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 149.86 x 223.52 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0745620833
  • 9780745620831

About Dr. Alan Aldridge

Alan Aldridge is Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Nottingham.
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Review quote

'With a masterly blend of theory and empirical example, this excellent textbook provides an informative, up-to-date and wide-ranging foundation for the sociology of religion. It is, moreover, eminently readable. I recommend it as required reading for students of all levels.' Eileen Barker, The London School of Economics and Political Science 'This is an extraordinarily readable book - lively, penetrating and provocative. The sometimes complex issues with which the author deals are handled with adroit subtlety but without the sacrifice of clarity. Aldridge skilfully summarizes the work of others, but adds points of genuine originality of his own. The result is a piece of work of outstanding intellectual quality which undergraduates should find an exciting pleasure to read, and from which graduates would also profit.' Bryan Wilson, Oxford University 'This is a bright, lucid overview of the sociological study of religion that skillfully summarises a broad range of work in the field and arranges it into an accessible, liberal-mainstream narrative on the thematic and methodological developments in the subject over the last hundred years. It will reward in one way or another all who read it, but will be especially useful in undergraduate classes in sociology of religion and religious studies.' Steven Sutcliffe, University of Sutherland, Culture and Religion 'It blends theory and empirical evidence in an engaging, challenging and even provocative way ... Aldridge's work is accessible and informative. No doubt it will become a popular standard textbook for undergraduates in Sociology and Religious Studies, whilst also appealing to a general readership.' British Journal of Sociology 'This book provides an authoritative introduction to the subdiscipline of the sociology of religion ... The book's central strength is the balance achieved between summarising the traditional concerns of the sociology of religion, and also incorporating recent theoretical innovations. Also, in summarising the debates of a subdiscipline that is rarely consensual, Aldridge treads skilfully the delicate path between overt partisanship on the one hand and bland summary on the other.' Sociology
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Table of contents

1. Studying religion sociologically. 2. Defining religion: social conflicts and sociological debates. 3. Varieties of religious movement. 4. Secularization triumphant: the social significance of religion. 5. Secularization in retreat: the revival of religion. 6. The resurgence of fundamentalism. 7. Sacralization of modernity: civil and political religion. 8. Brainwashing, consumer protection and the state. 9. Religious identity and meaning in the modern world. References. Index.
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Rating details

35 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 17% (6)
4 54% (19)
3 26% (9)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
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