Religion and the State: A Comparative Sociology

J. M. Barbalet, Adam Possamai, Bryan S. Turner
Anthem Press, 2011 - 282 páginas
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This volume addresses a central problem of contemporary states, namely how to manage the eruption of public religions. While the liberal framework formerly regarded religion as simply a matter of private practice and conscience, in modern states religion has often come to challenge the so-called Westphalian model of church-state relations, and has brought into question many liberal notions of secularism and tolerance. There is much discussion about post-secular society in which religion has to be taken seriously in public affairs. This collection of case studies - looking at Turkey, Singapore, India, China, Britain, Europe and the United States - explores a number of examples in which the state exercises some degree of management of religion, thereby bringing into question the traditional separation of religion and state. This study also attempts to refine the notion of secularization by examining this process in terms of political arrangements (church-state relations) and the role of religion in everyday life. Ultimately, this study reveals that there is no uniform or standard pattern of secularization in modern societies.


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Jack Barbalet is a Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Public Policy at the University of Western Sydney. He was previously a professor of sociology and Head of Department at the University of Leicester in England, and has held positions in sociology at the Australian National University, in political science at the University of Adelaide, and in economics at the University of Papua New Guinea. He has researched and published widely in sociological theory, political sociology, economic sociology and the sociology of emotions. His most recent book, entitled ‘Weber, Passion and Profits: “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” in Context’ (Cambridge University Press, 2008), was awarded the 2010 Stephen Crook Memorial Prize of the Australian Sociological Association.

Adam Possamai is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Western Sydney, and is based in the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies and the School of Social Sciences. He is the President of the Research Committee on Religion (RC22) from the International Sociological Association, and he is a former President of the Australian Association for the Study of Religions and former editor of the journal ‘Australian Religion Studies Review’. He is the author of ‘Religion and Popular Culture: A Hyper-Real Testament’ (Peter Lang, 2005), ‘In Search of New Age’ (Ashgate, 2005), ‘Sociology of Religion for Generations X and Y’ (Equinox, 2009) and a book of short stories, ‘Perles Noires’ (Nuit D’Avril, 2005).

Bryan S. Turner is the Presidential Professor of Sociology and Director of the Committee on Religion at the Graduate Center, City University of New York and Director of the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies, University of Western Sydney. He has been a Professor of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, UK, a research leader in the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore, and the Alona Evans Distinguished Visiting Professor of Sociology at Wellesley College, USA. He is the editor of ‘The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology’ (Cambridge University Press, 2006), the author of ‘Vulnerability and Human Rights’ (Penn State University Press, 2006) and the founding editor of the journals ‘Citizenship Studies’ and ‘Journal of Classical Sociology’.

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