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The Religious and the Political
A Comparative Sociology of Religion


Berna Zengin Arslan
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  • Date Published: April 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521675314

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About the Authors
  • While the relationships between ethics and religion, and violence and politics, are of enduring interest, the interface between religion and violence is one of the most problematic features of the contemporary world. Following in the tradition of Max Weber's historical and comparative study of religions, this book explores the many ways in which religion and politics are both combined and separated across different world religions and societies. Through a variety of case studies including the monarchy, marriage, law and conversion, Bryan S. Turner explores different manifestations of secularization, and how the separation of church and state is either compromised or abandoned. He considers how different states manage religion in culturally and religiously diverse societies and concludes with a discussion of the contemporary problems facing the liberal theory of freedom of religion. The underlying theoretical issue is the conditions for legitimacy of rule in modern societies experiencing global changes.

    • Features a strong integrating theme that, in modern societies, the state is forced to enter into a 'management of religion' because cultural and religious diversity threaten to compromise social order
    • Combines theories of religion with concrete empirical examples (such as monarchy, marriage, divorce and law) in order to demonstrate the relevance of the sociology of religion to modern social and political issues
    • Examines Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity across a range of societies including China, Japan and Thailand, offering students a broad sweep of contemporary issues across world religions
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The Religious and the Political challenges conventional assumptions about secular modernity by demonstrating that state formations are deeply enmeshed with the religious on myriad fronts - from gender and family to revelation and charisma, agency and conversion, citizenship, power and violence, and colonialism. Turner's global comparative sociology of this 'tragic tension' will help informed scholars and a wider readership alike grapple with the key antinomies of liberal modernity in ways that point to a path forward for both souls and states.' John R. Hall, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Davis

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521675314
    • length: 290 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Religious and the Political:
    1. Fear of diversity: the origin of politics
    2. Charisma and church-state relations
    3. City, nation and globe: the rise of the church and the citizen
    Part II. State Management of Religion:
    4. Religion and kingship: liturgies and royal rituals
    5. Religion and reproduction: marriage and family
    6. Conversion and the state
    7. Religion, state and legitimacy: three dimensions of authority
    Part III. Comparative and Historical Studies:
    8. Buddhism and the political: the sangha and the state
    9. Confucianism as state ideology: China
    10. Religion, state and Japanese exceptionalism: nihonjinron
    11. State and Turkish secularism: the case of Diyanet (with Berna Zengin Arslan)
    Part IV. Conclusion:
    12. Popular religion and popular democracy
    13. The state and freedom of religion.

  • Author

    Bryan S. Turner, City University of New York
    Bryan S. Turner is the Presidential Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Committee on Religion at the Graduate Center, the City University of New York, and the Director of the Center for Religion and Society at the University of Western Sydney. He is the author of Religion and Modern Society (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and the editor of The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology (Cambridge University Press, 2006).


    Berna Zengin Arslan

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