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Religion, Politics, and Globalization

Religion, Politics, and Globalization: Anthropological Approaches

Galina Lindquist
Don Handelman
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 316
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  • Book Info
    Religion, Politics, and Globalization
    Book Description:

    While social scientists, beginning with Weber, envisioned a secularized world, religion today is forthrightly becoming a defining feature of life all around the globe. The complex connections between religion and politics, and the ways in which globalization shapes these processes, are central themes explored in this volume by leading scholars in the field of religion. Does the holism of numerous past and present day cosmologies mean that religions with their holistic orientations are integral to human existence? What happens when political ideologies and projects are framed as transcendental truths and justified by Divine authority? How are individual and collective identities shaped by religious rhetoric, and what are the consequences? Can mass murder, deemed terrorism, be understood as a form of ritual sacrifice, and if so, what are the implications for our sensibilities and practices as scholars and citizens? Using empirical material, from historical analyses of established religions to the everyday strife of marginalized groups such as migrants and dissident movements, this volume deepens the understanding of processes that shape the contemporary world.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-546-0
    Subjects: Anthropology, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Don Handelman
  5. After Understanding: A Memoir of Galina Lindquist
    (pp. xv-xxvi)
    Michael Jackson

    In 1999, Galina Lindquist returned to Moscow after ten years away. She walked around the city as a revenant, finding it familiar yet utterly strange. This was not only because she had changed; Russia itself was no longer the country she had known during the years of perestroika. The late 1980s were a time of jubilant expectation; the despised Sovietsistemahad collapsed, you could buy books in subway kiosks that only recently you could have been sent to the gulag for possessing, and you were ostensibly free. Ten years later, this mood of abundant possibility had gone, replaced by...

  6. Religion, Politics, and Globalization: The Long Past Foregrounding the Short Present—Prologue and Introduction
    (pp. 1-66)
    Don Handelman and Galina Lindquist

    This book offers a range of case-studies from around the globe—India, Indonesia, the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, the United States—that take up the tangled relationships between religion and politics in the presentness of this globalizing age. Mostly by anthropologists, the chapters exemplify how a relevant anthropology concentrates especially on the ethnographic and the factual. The case-studies illuminate the finer details of conflicts in the entanglement and the difficulties of resolving these. They add to the current understanding in the social sciences of just how mistaken were the claims of a generation and more ago that with modernization,...

  7. I. Shaping Religion Through Politics

    • 1 Ethnic Identity and Religious Competition: Buddhism and Shamanism in Southern Siberia
      (pp. 69-90)
      Galina Lindquist

      When modernity arrived and the “sacred canopy” above Western Europe disintegrated, the allegiance to the nation-state was assumed to become one of the primary political and personal identifications of groups and individuals. Allegiance to the nation-state was expected to overshadow, if not completely replace, loyalties to ethnic and religious communities, supposedly more primordial, but rendered obsolete by modernity. This was one among many premises of theories of modernity that had to be modified in postmodern times. In the second half of the twentieth century, empires disintegrated and nation-states became less significant as identity markers and as symbolic entities of emotional...

    • 2 The Global Constitution of Religious Nationalism: Hindutva and Globalization
      (pp. 91-114)
      Henrik Berglund

      Born in the shadows of ethnic cleansing, India opted for a secular constitution, committing itself to no special faith. This solution was to some extent a result of the horrors of the partition of British India, which included serious Hindu-Muslim riots, and which left millions dead or homeless. The partition resulted in the formation of Pakistan, which became more or less a Muslim state, while India, although dominated by the Hindu majority, still included a large Muslim minority. Based on the experiences of the partition of British India, the liberal and socialist political forces that dominated Indian politics at the...

  8. II. Open Conflicts Between Religion and Politics

    • 3 Church Confronts State: The 2005 Manifestasaun in Timor-Leste
      (pp. 117-143)
      David Hicks

      They came from every district in East Timor. Like peasants from the country-side in medieval Europe, they descended upon the capital en masse with a view to intimidating the secular authorities.

      Day after day, from the third week of April 2005, trucks bursting with young people entered the town of Dili, the adventurous or reckless ones hanging from the sides of the vehicles, to deposit their human cargo. There they joined a multitude of other protesters in daily demonstrations that would alter the relationship between religious authority and secular authority in the first nation-state to become a member of the...

    • 4 Religion, Secularism, and Politics in Contemporary Spain: The Case of the Imam of Fuengirola
      (pp. 144-168)
      Eva Evers Rosander

      This chapter deals with the case of the imam of Fuengirola, on the south coast of Spain. He published a book concerning women in Islam, was sentenced to prison by a Spanish court for the gender-discriminatory content of the book, and was released from prison a few weeks later, a chain of events that took place between 2000 and 2004. I have chosen this instance since it well illustrates Islam as a theology and practice in present-day Spain and the application by its representatives of rules and regulations that appear to contradict the spirit of the Spanish constitution, as well...

  9. III. The Tight Embrace of Religion and Politics

    • 5 Actors of History? Religion, Politics, and “Reality” within the Protestant Right in America
      (pp. 171-188)
      Simon Coleman

      To a supposedly secular Europe, and even to skeptical anthropologists, the confluence of religion and politics in America remains a source of bemusement. Yet, it shows no sign of disappearing—rather the reverse. In this chapter, I explore the past and present of what has become the Christian, and more specifically the Protestant, Right in the United States.¹ The approach is inevitably broad brush, intended to highlight some general trends and resonances rather than the complex and manifold ideological differences among conservative Protestants. I hope thereby to capture some of the ways in which an over-hasty conflation of secularity with...

    • 6 The Ambiguities of Islamism and a Century of Iranian Opposition
      (pp. 189-206)
      David Thurfjell

      Islamism¹ is often portrayed as an antimodern movement. In 1979, when the Islamist revolution of Khomeyni (1902–1989) took place in Iran, it was often described as “turning back the clock of history.”² The Islamists were viewed as traditionalists, and their movement was spoken of as a medieval system, an antithesis of Western progress. Following in the footsteps of scholars like Bobby S. Sayyid³ and Sami Zubaida,⁴ this chapter seeks to problematize such an understanding. In doing so I want to focus on one aspect of the Iranian Islamist movement, namely, its ambiguous attitude toward the cluster of ideas and...

  10. IV. Opening New Space for Religion

    • 7 Amazighité, Arab/Islamic Hegemony, and the Christian Evangelical Challenge
      (pp. 209-230)
      Mira Z. Amiras

      The Amazigh struggle in North Africa has taken the form of a classic nativistic movement. It has consisted of an indigenous people, feeling that their language and identity have reached the brink of extinction, setting out to both “revive and perpetuate selected aspects of their culture” (see Linton 1943: 499). At the same time, both Islam and Arabism have experienced a similar kind of resurgent mobilization—both politically and spiritually—less oriented toward retrieving a lost or disappearing identity than in fulfilling their perceived legacy, the formation of hegemonic scriptural states. Islam and Arabism are inextricably united through Qur’anic revelation...

    • 8 Self-Exploders, Self-Sacrifice, and the Rhizomic Organization of Terrorism
      (pp. 231-262)
      Don Handelman

      The human bombs of today’s terrorism are self-exploders. I do not refer toself-exploderlightly. Exploding the self is the self-destruction of one’s intimate interior being, one’s own journeys of becoming, the existential being-ness through which each of us (in manifoldly different cultural ways) experiences and knows worlds, inside one’s self, outside one’s self. Since self comes into existence and is formed and forming through relating to otherness, the self is a social being. To self-explode self is then a social act, a social practice, one intended to act on the world through one’s own self-destruction. As social practice, self-explosion...

  11. Afterword: Fixation of Belief and the Dilemmas of Fallibility
    (pp. 263-275)
    Robert E. Innis

    The foregoing studies show that the blending, as well as the clashing, of the sacred and the worldly, or the religious and the political, results in a volatile epistemological cocktail, with multiple ingredients in varying proportions. Appeals to the ultimacy of the sacred, specifically with claims to a privileged revelation, whether Christian, Islamic, or Hindu, are fused, at both the micro and the macro level, with opposing claims to procedural or substantive ultimacy both within the realm of the sacred and within the secular domain in its primarily political and economic dimensions—the realm of modernity’s great rationalization project. At...

  12. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 276-277)
  13. Index
    (pp. 278-290)