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The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion

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The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion

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... A lot of scholars have studied the effects and impact of secularization process on society, institution, politics, and so on… (Berger, 1967(Berger, , 1999Brown & Callum, 2009;Bruce & Glendinning, 2010;Bruce, 2002;Casanova, 1994;Chaves, 1994;Ellul & Gauchet, 1985;Gilbert, 1980;Martin, 1979;Said, 1978;Hadden, 1987;Taylor, 2007), on the contrary few have instead studied the impact of secularization on Religion, and the process of adaptation of Religion to secularizing process 1 . ...
... In our daily-life, we experience symbols and glimpses of existence beyond empirical space and a transcendent existence in cyberspace. In his A Rumor of Angels: Modern Society and the Rediscovery of the Supernatural, the sociologist Peter Berger in fact identified secularization as happening not so much within social institutions, due to the increase of the separation of church and state, but applying to «processes inside the human mind» producing «a secularization of consciousness» (Berger, 1969). Theoretically, Berger questioned the current secularization/modernization scheme, suggesting important modifications to the secularization theory and pointed to the exceptional status of Europe in this regard. ...
... In according to Berger, the human beings' sense of hope and transcendence is a structural form. Berger call this process the "rumors of angels" (Berger, 1967;Berger & Luckmann, 1967). ...
Book
The book addresses the relation between several social and cultural aspects of contemporary society and the digitization process, it debates new methodologies and approaches to the study of social media and digital networks. It examines the opportunity to understand the social aspects of digital media in social research yet, at the same time, it debates critical and controversial points of digitization. It is a collection of essays and papers by international scholars from all over the world, that delineate some general tracks and try to define what digitization is. This term marks one of the more ambiguous phenomena of our time, and this book tries to analyze it thanks to an international and interdisciplinary approach.
... In Bavaria, as two-thirds of the population are Catholic (Buse 2005) The secularisation thesis, which can be traced back to Durkheim (2001) and Weber's (1963; research on the relationship between modernity and the decline of religions in the West, interpreted these phenomena as a decline in religion. In sociology, many authors such as Luckmann (1970), Berger (1990), Parsons (1960) and Luhmann (1982) interpreted Durkheim and Weber's theories and laid the foundation of the classic secularisation thesis. This thesis gradually became more radical in Bryan Wilson (1966) and Steve Bruce's (1996Bruce's ( & 2002 later formulations which to a certain extent achieved a consensus among sociologists for over four decades (Cannell 2010: 86). ...
... These phenomena seemingly conform to what classical secularisation theories (e.g. Berger 1990;Bruce 1996Bruce & 2002Luckmann 1970;Luhmann 1982;Parsons 1960;Wilson 1966) described as a decline of religion. Firstly, the differentiation of social domains in modern society leads to religion becoming only one of the domains. ...
Thesis
This thesis is an ethnographic study of ‘Heimat’ (home) in a Bavarian village, and how Heimat is made in relationship with the German nation-state, the Catholic church, and the experience of nature. At a time when the village has lost its previous political and economic significance, local efforts to make Heimat have become vital to regenerate the village community. Major economic and political changes since World War II have led to substantial changes in the village, especially the decline of ‘big families’ and rise of local associations (Vereine) as the main organisational force. Against this historical backdrop, local identities emerge in the tensions and entanglements between state formation and local practice. The political reality of Heimat is defined by the ways in which villagers reveal and bridge oppositions between official and vernacular discourses. Aside from government and state, Catholicism also plays an indispensable role in articulating senses of community in Heimat. The ethics and organisational forms of the Catholic Church offer alternative ideals and institutions to secular ones; they can also provide connections between state and village. Furthermore, villagers’ experience of Heimat at present are crucially expressed in the local idea of ‘returning to nature to heal society’s illnesses.’ This local idiom incorporates contradictory characteristics, as a metaphor of villagers’ investments in and hopes for Heimat itself, and with exclusionist connotations. Nature in this sense is both a source of morality for a society deemed lacking and ultimately beyond human morality, for only nature that is essentially different from human society has the power to heal. The unreachability of this idea of nature is its very strength. Heimat, similarly, operates based on a core paradox: to maintain Heimat, villagers tend to externalise the inherent problems of Heimat to an imagined opposition between the ‘traditional village’ (as Heimat) and the ‘modern city’ (as its ultimate ‘other’, with ethnic diversity). But an analysis of the local dialectical understandings of modern time and the corresponding meanings of Heimat reveal that Heimat is essentially a product of modernity.
... To these five, we might add legitimation: social systems must make plausible (Berger 1969) and ontologically secure (Giddens 1984) the phenomenological experience of individuals, although legitimation might also been seen as part of the process of creating attachments of actors in a society to institutional domains and the society as a whole. ...
... In this way, adherents could orient themselves to a distant place, perhaps even pilgrimaging there one day, while more practically orienting themselves to a physical place with real people doing "real" religion. In more pluralist religious spheres, like the U.S., instead of embedding and inclusion being the structural principle linking the central core to the mini-cores, competitive exclusion predicated on structural and cultural differentiation is the organizing principle (Berger 1969;Finke and Stark 1988). Nonetheless, each congregation becomes the physical and cognitive core for its members, and in some cases, like Episcopalians or Presbyterians, embedding and differentiation may be working simultaneously. ...
... To these five, we might add legitimation: social systems must make plausible (Berger 1969) and ontologically secure (Giddens 1984) the phenomenological experience of individuals, although legitimation might also been seen as part of the process of creating attachments of actors in a society to institutional domains and the society as a whole. ...
... In this way, adherents could orient themselves to a distant place, perhaps even pilgrimaging there one day, while more practically orienting themselves to a physical place with real people doing "real" religion. In more pluralist religious spheres, like the U.S., instead of embedding and inclusion being the structural principle linking the central core to the mini-cores, competitive exclusion predicated on structural and cultural differentiation is the organizing principle (Berger 1969;Finke and Stark 1988). Nonetheless, each congregation becomes the physical and cognitive core for its members, and in some cases, like Episcopalians or Presbyterians, embedding and differentiation may be working simultaneously. ...
... To these five, we might add legitimation: social systems must make plausible (Berger 1969) and ontologically secure (Giddens 1984) the phenomenological experience of individuals, although legitimation might also been seen as part of the process of creating attachments of actors in a society to institutional domains and the society as a whole. ...
... In this way, adherents could orient themselves to a distant place, perhaps even pilgrimaging there one day, while more practically orienting themselves to a physical place with real people doing "real" religion. In more pluralist religious spheres, like the U.S., instead of embedding and inclusion being the structural principle linking the central core to the mini-cores, competitive exclusion predicated on structural and cultural differentiation is the organizing principle (Berger 1969;Finke and Stark 1988). Nonetheless, each congregation becomes the physical and cognitive core for its members, and in some cases, like Episcopalians or Presbyterians, embedding and differentiation may be working simultaneously. ...
... A secularização, segundo Bryan Wilson (1969), é um processo, particularmente percetível na Europa, "por meio do qual, o pensamento, prática e instituições religiosas perdem significado social" (Wilson, 1969: 11) 3 . De forma similar, Peter Berger (1967) foca-se na perda de significado Pinto, Tiago (2021), "Um programa religioso num contexto secular: os professores de Educação Moral e Religiosa Católica no concelho do Porto", Sociologia: Revista da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, Número Temático -Instituições e atores religiosos: contextos de diversificação, pp. 97-117 100 social e cultural destas instituições, seus símbolos e na diminuição de importância da religião nas consciências individuais. ...
... A secularização social segundo Berger (1967), um dos importantes teóricos da secularização, é a perda de significado de referenciais dos sistemas religiosos na amplitude dos subsistemas sociais, isto é, uma substituição de um universo de normas transcendentais por um conjunto de ideologias racionais na esfera institucional, há um "desencantamento do mundo" (Weber, 2001). A organizacional, ou como Luckmann (1967) refere, a nível interno, é a perda de ortodoxia nas organizações religiosas, nos valores moral, no universo de crenças e nos rituais. ...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the programmatic representations of Catholic Moral and Religious Education (EMRC) teachers, regarding the discipline program, in public schools in the municipality of Porto (Portugal). Through a diachronic approach to the socio-religious panorama and Catholic religious teaching in Portuguese public schools, it is possible to identify, nowadays, new challenges for the Roman Catholic Church and for its school educators. The interviews carried out showed that teachers tend to consider the study plan as limited, unmotivating and with excessive religious contents, so they proposed a subject of moral and religious education not confined to the Catholic universe.
... It is a predisposition born of our uniquely reflexive human consciousness and its correlative: the drive to make sense of, and find not just a social but a psychological home, in an 'objectively' meaningless, inhospitable universe. Both Ernst Becker and Peter Berger have extensively studied the way pre-modern human societies have always been driven to construct heroic myths as templates of a higher, transcendent plane of existence (Becker 1962), and to elaborate ritual-based cosmologies which make up a 'sacred canopy' (Berger 1967) to ward off the devastating psychological pain which would ensue from coming to grips with the 'objective' finitude, absurdity, and loneliness of life on earth. ...
... It is a predisposition born of our uniquely reflexive human consciousness and its correlative: the drive to make sense of, and find not just a social but a psychological home, in an 'objectively' meaningless, inhospitable universe. Both Ernst Becker and Peter Berger have extensively studied the way pre-modern human societies have always been driven to construct heroic myths as templates of a higher, transcendent plane of existence (Becker 1962), and to elaborate ritual-based cosmologies which make up a 'sacred canopy' (Berger 1967) to ward off the devastating psychological pain which would ensue from coming to grips with the 'objective' finitude, absurdity, and loneliness of life on earth. ...
... It is a predisposition born of our uniquely reflexive human consciousness and its correlative: the drive to make sense of, and find not just a social but a psychological home, in an 'objectively' meaningless, inhospitable universe. Both Ernst Becker and Peter Berger have extensively studied the way pre-modern human societies have always been driven to construct heroic myths as templates of a higher, transcendent plane of existence (Becker 1962), and to elaborate ritual-based cosmologies which make up a 'sacred canopy' (Berger 1967) to ward off the devastating psychological pain which would ensue from coming to grips with the 'objective' finitude, absurdity, and loneliness of life on earth. ...
... In the 20 th century, theoretical discussion of religion has achieved more popularity when Berger develops his ''sacred canopy'' as metaphor to understand the traditions of religion in a different manner for the first time in the sociological perspective (Berger, 1969). ...
Preprint
The prime purpose of this article is to study religion from different paradigms or perspectives in sociological viewpoint. Religion is defined as social institution while economic reality, ideological support and everyday interactions of people are also undertaken as core concept. In fact, this article is an overview of religion of three theoretical perspective of sociology focusing on the work of Emile Durkheim, Robert K. Merton (the functionalist), Karl Marx, Max Weber, Friedrich Engels (the conflict), and Peter Berger (the interactionist). A brief discussion of each perspective is articulated clearly, followed by secondary sources including published books, book section, blogs, research articles and webpages highlighting on the foundations of the relevant theory. Afterwards the author reviews the discourses of the theorists' regarding religion with its application towards the human society. Finally, the article provides a summary of these perspective continuing to develop the field.
... Rather than witnessing the eclipse of the sacred (Acquaviva 1961), the death of God (Bruce 2002), the decline of faith and the secularisation of every aspect of life, religion seems to have returned to being a relevant dimension of Western societies (Berger 1999), including the Italian one. Alongside the research on institutional secularisation, and the typically North American strand of studies on the religious market, starting at least from Berger's (1967) and Wilson's (1966Wilson's ( , 1977 works on the privatisation of religious experience and Luckmann's (1967) studies on the invisible religion, progressively in Europe, and also in Italy, greater attention has been paid to the micro dimensions of religiosity (Heelas and Woodhead 2005;Hervieu-Léger 1999;Davie 1994;Cipriani 1989). On the other hand, it still needs to be shown whether this historical phase of de-secularisation (Berger 1999), postsecularisation (Rosati 2015;Habermas 2008;Taylor 2007) or multiple secularities (Burchardt et al. 2015;Beckford 2012;Stepan 2011), will indeed lead to the revenge of God (Kepel 1991); or, if anything, what we are witnessing is a re-emergence of the public relevance of religion (Casanova 1994), even if only in the reduced sphere of scientific debate (Pollack 2006), in a time still characterized by an undeniable ongoing process of secularization (Köhrsen 2012;Marzano 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
Although research shows a general decrease in religiosity in Western societies, religious transmission still seems to be a poorly studied phenomenon, especially in Italy. We do not know much about the dynamics of socialisation that take place in the family and the main factors that determine the success or failure of religious transmission from one generation to the next. Yet, the family context represents the first agency of socialisation to religion, from an early age, through experiences with parents, grandparents and relatives. On the other hand, in the age of religious diversification, the migration factor is becoming increasingly crucial for national religious landscapes. Nevertheless, religious transmission in foreign families and the impact of migration on family religiosity are still little studied. This contribution presents some research perspectives that have emerged from a wide-ranging survey, still in progress, on intergenerational transmission of religion in Catholic, Muslim and Orthodox families in Italy.
... It is a predisposition born of our uniquely reflexive human consciousness and its correlative: the drive to make sense of, and find not just a social but a psychological home, in an 'objectively' meaningless, inhospitable universe. Both Ernst Becker and Peter Berger have extensively studied the way pre-modern human societies have always been driven to construct heroic myths as templates of a higher, transcendent plane of existence (Becker 1962), and to elaborate ritual-based cosmologies which make up a 'sacred canopy' (Berger 1967) to ward off the devastating psychological pain which would ensue from coming to grips with the 'objective' finitude, absurdity, and loneliness of life on earth. ...
... Casanova 2006, p. 12), and by which religion "ceases to be significant in the working of the social system" (Wilson 1982, p. 150). In a secularised world, religion is no longer the unifying system of meaning and ethical norms, or what Peter Berger called the "sacred canopy" of society (Berger 1967); it becomes one sphere among multiple other spheres of a differentiated social reality. The decline of religion as a meaning-organising system, which permeates and influences all spheres of life, often leads to religion's aligning with political and other secular forces, through which it seeks to regain its social impact. ...
Article
Full-text available
In a recent publication, I introduced the theoretical framework of neosecularisation with regard to the Orthodox Church and society in Bulgaria. I argued that neosecularisation, as a complex process of decline of religion’s importance and the hold of religious authority over the social system, while genealogically different from communist secularisation, explicates patterns of continuity with the communist past. Important aspects of this continuity include the persistent grassroots feminisation of the Church and the co-optation of the Church by the state. Drawing on those theoretical insights, in this paper, I seek to understand the rise of anti-gender politics in Bulgaria since 2018 in relation to the condition of neosecularisation and its impact on the Church. I argue that (neo)secularisation remains a much feared “threat” for the Church and plays a role in ecclesiastical anti-gender mobilisation. However, the Church is not a major factor in anti-gender politics in Bulgaria; the roles of far-right nationalists and certain transnationally connected evangelical actors are to be seriously considered. Furthermore, anti-genderism cannot be understood merely as a religious or cultural backlash. It needs to be discussed as a larger protest movement against liberal democracy’s failure to live up to its promises and against the pathologies of neoliberal globalisation, a movement in which the Orthodox Church is only tangentially involved.
... It is a predisposition born of our uniquely reflexive human consciousness and its correlative: the drive to make sense of, and find not just a social but a psychological home, in an 'objectively' meaningless, inhospitable universe. Both Ernst Becker and Peter Berger have extensively studied the way pre-modern human societies have always been driven to construct heroic myths as templates of a higher, transcendent plane of existence (Becker 1962), and to elaborate ritual-based cosmologies which make up a 'sacred canopy' (Berger 1967) to ward off the devastating psychological pain which would ensue from coming to grips with the 'objective' finitude, absurdity, and loneliness of life on earth. ...
... It means a response to the problem of its meanings (GEERTZ, 2000). Thus, the various forms of misfortunes, interpreted here as sources of instability in the social order, are notable for placing the notion of chaos (BERGER, 1967) as something to be avoided to ensure the meanings of human experiences. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This article aims to understand the role of knowledge and ritual practices promoted by Moroccan Sufi leaders among the Hamdouchiya brotherhood. According to a local Islamic belief, jnun are responsible for the creation of misfortunes to individuals. The search for a job, the materialization of a marriage, motherhood, or the cure (of diseases) are part of the set of demands by women to the ritual session in Sufi lodges. These religious agents operate an interaction with jnun during the trance experience with the personality of Aisha Qandisha, one of the most famous female jinn in Morocco’s society. Based on ethnographic research (2012-2017), I highlight the embodiment practices mobilized both by Sufi leaders and believers to solve their conflicts or face their misfortunes. Understanding body language cannot be performed without the communicative context. In this sense, the analysis gives particular attention to the reciprocal positioning, influence, and exchange between humans and jnun during the arrangement of Sufi rituals. According to religious specialists, the triad of intention, intellect, and ego constitutes a religious structure through which the blessing of the patron saints of Hamdouchiya combats the evil forces of the jnun. The cult of saints in Morocco allows people to criticize the theoretical-methodological limits imposed between what is usual in terms of “orthodoxy” and “popular Islam”. These terms, taken from a conception of modernity about Islamic religion, make it difficult to understand, for example, the new possibilities of obtaining a “legitimate cure” within contemporary Moroccan society.
... It is a predisposition born of our uniquely reflexive human consciousness and its correlative: the drive to make sense of, and find not just a social but a psychological home, in an 'objectively' meaningless, inhospitable universe. Both Ernst Becker and Peter Berger have extensively studied the way pre-modern human societies have always been driven to construct heroic myths as templates of a higher, transcendent plane of existence (Becker 1962), and to elaborate ritual-based cosmologies which make up a 'sacred canopy' (Berger 1967) to ward off the devastating psychological pain which would ensue from coming to grips with the 'objective' finitude, absurdity, and loneliness of life on earth. ...
... In addition, religious messages are spread in religious services and in religious networks, and this will further strengthen these parental values (Starks & Robinson, 2005). However, in the process of secularization, religion gradually loses its social significance (Berger, 1967) and its encompassing role in prescribing traditional values and norms . Religious institutions such as the church are no longer able to spread their messages through major institutional vehicles like the media, education and politics. ...
Book
Full-text available
This book on Reflections on European Values is a Liber Amicorum honouring Loek Halman’s contribution to the European Values Study. For years, he has been a key figure in this longitudinal and cross-national research project on moral, social, and political values, dedicating his academic life to advancing the understanding of values in Europe. This Liber Amicorum is published at the occasion of Loek’s retirement after a long career at the Department of Sociology at Tilburg University. It brings together essays on the study of European values, written by his academic friends. The 32 chapters in this volume are structured in five themes that reflect Loek’s scholarly interest. A first group of contributions presents theoretical and methodological reflections on the European Values Study. Second, essays on the sociology of religion reflect Loek’s interest in this topic. Third, comparative studies using the European Values Study are presented. The fourth part focuses on a case most well-known : the Netherlands. The fifth and final section further deepens the understanding of values in several specific countries in Europe. Upon his retirement, this book will serve as an inspiration for scholars who want to walk in Loek Halman's footsteps in continuing research on values in Europe.
... It is a predisposition born of our uniquely reflexive human consciousness and its correlative: the drive to make sense of, and find not just a social but a psychological home, in an 'objectively' meaningless, inhospitable universe. Both Ernst Becker and Peter Berger have extensively studied the way pre-modern human societies have always been driven to construct heroic myths as templates of a higher, transcendent plane of existence (Becker 1962), and to elaborate ritual-based cosmologies which make up a 'sacred canopy' (Berger 1967) to ward off the devastating psychological pain which would ensue from coming to grips with the 'objective' finitude, absurdity, and loneliness of life on earth. ...
... Other contributions of those approaches, attended in this paper, they are the various constructs to understand and to manage the complex and fickle American social reality: from its American Awakenings & Revivals theory (AAR or CAR: cycles of awakenings & revivals, see next table) to its proposals of denominationalism (which is essential to understand solidarity and social movements in the USA), ecumenism (to understand cross-confessional initiatives, such as the sanctuary movement), and its ACR (with ASG, AMD, etc.). Amongst the innovators in this area during the mid-20th century it can highlight Blau (1946Blau ( ,1952, Eliade (1961Eliade ( , 1971Eliade ( & 1978, Mannheim (1950), Stokes (1950), Dawson (1953), Wood (1961), etc.; and amongst its defenders during the culture wars, it can cite Bell (1960, 1976), Bellah (1970, 1975, 1987, Berger (1967Berger ( , 1969Berger ( , 1974Berger ( , 1979, Bloom (1992), etc. Amongst TCS, we must highlight the role of Church-State Studies as a pioneer of the American relational model, based on separation by accommodation, as ruled by the First Amendment (non-official religion: a lower limit or (non)establishment clause, and an upper or free-exercise clause); without forgetting the famous wall of separation between Church and State (based on autonomy and non-interference) which supports the idea of sanctuary (from the 19th century underground railroad cases that aided slaves escaping to abolitionist states). Amongst the thousands of researchers specializing in this area, it must highlight figures as Stokes (at Yale), Pfeffer (at NYU and Yeshiva University), Dawson, Wood and Davis (at Baylor and MHBU). ...
Article
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This is a Political Economy study on migrants-citizens relations management in the United States of America, with special attention to the religious factor and the pendulum effect. There is a model switch, from integration policies (open doors and melting pot agenda, with expropriation of charity by Public Sector) to official persecution (state-raids and deportations, with re-privatization of charity), under a high social opportunity cost. Also, there is a split between the State and civil society (including the church), causing civil disobedience and sanctuary network across the country. The paper focuses on the development of the Sanctuary Movement, as a case of popular action against to the power elite policies and their sanctions. There was a revival of this movement during the values crisis or 2008 recession, but at the same time there was a critical division into the movement, with higher tension for the migrants.
... The search for the sacred is central to definitions of religion and spirituality. This focus on the sacred helps to distinguish both spirituality and religion from other social and personal phenomena (e.g., Berger, 1967). Wong and Fry (1998) argued that even though there is considerable overlap between religion and spirituality, there are also areas of difference. ...
Thesis
p>A substantial body of mainly US research has suggested the mental health benefits of religiosity and spirituality and that this relationship is mediated by extrinsic factors such as health behaviours, social support and sense of personal meaning or coherence. However, as Pargament argues, it is also possible that religion has unique benefits through providing contact with the sacred. Such benefits can be expected to be more evident in a religious society such as Iran. In order to assess religious coping in Iran, a religious coping scale modelled on Pargament’s scale was developed specifically for Iranian Muslims and tested in a sample of university students (N = 185). Similarly, the validity and reliability of Reker’s Personal Meaning scale was tested on a sample of university students (N = 136) and school teachers (N = 162). These studies also demonstrated the associations with well-being variables of both religious coping and personal meaning. To investigate the relative efficacy of religious coping and personal meaning in dealing with physical disability and traumatic experiences, a sample of disabled war veterans of the Iran-Iraq conflict was studied (N = 78). Many Iranian veterans perceived the war as a sacred defence. It was expected that such sanctification would have helped protect them from mental health problems and distress. Results showed that religious coping had a significant contribution to mental health of veterans beyond and above other predictor variables such as physical function, social support and personal meaning. These predictor variables did not explain the relationship between religious coping and mental health. This research also indicated that participants used positive religious coping strategies more frequently than negative religious coping strategies in coping with their physical disability problems and traumatic experiences. The limitations of this study are discussed and suggestions made for the sanctification hypothesis in other samples.</p
... Com efeito, a maioria dos autores menciona o período pós-II Grande Guerra (pós-1945) e o início da década de 1960 como etapas inaugurais da teoria da secularização no campo da sociologia das religiões, onde se encontram as primeiras tentativas de desenvolver formulações empíricas e sistemáticas (WILSON, 1969(WILSON, [1966, LUCKMANN, 1967, BERGER, 1990). O desenvolvimento teórico fez com que as teorias da secularização fossem integradas, durante os anos 1960, na teoria da modernização, tornando-se num dos seus axiomas centrais. ...
... It is a predisposition born of our uniquely reflexive human consciousness and its correlative: the drive to make sense of, and find not just a social but a psychological home, in an 'objectively' meaningless, inhospitable universe. Both Ernst Becker and Peter Berger have extensively studied the way pre-modern human societies have always been driven to construct heroic myths as templates of a higher, transcendent plane of existence (Becker 1962), and to elaborate ritual-based cosmologies which make up a 'sacred canopy' (Berger 1967) to ward off the devastating psychological pain which would ensue from coming to grips with the 'objective' finitude, absurdity, and loneliness of life on earth. ...
... It is a predisposition born of our uniquely reflexive human consciousness and its correlative: the drive to make sense of, and find not just a social but a psychological home, in an 'objectively' meaningless, inhospitable universe. Both Ernst Becker and Peter Berger have extensively studied the way pre-modern human societies have always been driven to construct heroic myths as templates of a higher, transcendent plane of existence (Becker 1962), and to elaborate ritual-based cosmologies which make up a 'sacred canopy' (Berger 1967) to ward off the devastating psychological pain which would ensue from coming to grips with the 'objective' finitude, absurdity, and loneliness of life on earth. ...
... It is a predisposition born of our uniquely reflexive human consciousness and its correlative: the drive to make sense of, and find not just a social but a psychological home, in an 'objectively' meaningless, inhospitable universe. Both Ernst Becker and Peter Berger have extensively studied the way pre-modern human societies have always been driven to construct heroic myths as templates of a higher, transcendent plane of existence (Becker 1962), and to elaborate ritual-based cosmologies which make up a 'sacred canopy' (Berger 1967) to ward off the devastating psychological pain which would ensue from coming to grips with the 'objective' finitude, absurdity, and loneliness of life on earth. ...
... In the 20 th century, theoretical discussion of religion has achieved more popularity when Berger develops his ''sacred canopy'' as metaphor to understand the traditions of religion in a different manner for the first time in the sociological perspective (Berger, 1969). Ultimately, using phenomenological and interactionist traditions Berger has built this tradition reflecting on the contribution of human society to the development of unity and brotherhood among the community of the universe. ...
Article
Full-text available
The prime purpose of this article is to study religion from different paradigms or perspectives from a sociological viewpoint. Religion is defined as a social institution while economic reality, ideological support and everyday interactions of people are also undertaken as core concepts. In fact, this article is an overview of religion of three theoretical perspectives of sociology focusing on the work of Emile Durkheim, Robert K. Merton (the functionalist), Karl Marx, Max Weber, Friedrich Engels (the conflict), and Peter Berger (the interactionist). A brief discussion of each perspective is articulated clearly, followed by secondary sources including published books, book sections, blogs, research articles and WebPages highlighting the foundations of the relevant theory. Afterward, the author reviews the discourses of the theorists' regarding religion with its application to human society. Finally, the article provides a summary of these perspectives continuing to develop the field.
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this article is to contribute to debates on the question of objectivity and subjectivity in anthropological research, which has been prominent in academic discourse since the second half of the 20th century. The paper focuses on selected approaches to subjectivity and objectivity in relation to the anthropological research on religion. The paper scrutinises methodological approach known as methodological agnosticism. Methodological agnosticism has been significantly influenced by the ideas of positivism and scientific scepticism, which are also discussed in the paper. The article presents the mentioned approachesand argues in favour of their effectiveness in anthropological research of religion.
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This paper explores the ways in which infrastructural development can cause the sacred to become a source of political legitimacy, and sacred authority to become a politically charged construct. For resource-dependent communities, the ecological damage caused by infrastructural development can cause ostensibly profane issues to be imbued with sacred meaning and value. With sacralization comes the expectation that figures of sacred authority will campaign for justice on behalf of the communities that they represent. However, when the authority evoked comes from outside the boundaries of institutionalized religion, processes of suprasacralization come into play. By exploring infrastructure’s (supra)sacralizing effects, I demonstrate how environmental ontologies can provide a competing basis for transcendence. In turn, this can reveal the politically progressive role of the sacred in eroding the legitimacy of institutionalized religion. I illustrate these ideas through an empirical analysis of the effects of the China-backed Port City Colombo project on Catholic fishing communities located along Sri Lanka’s western coastline. Drawing on ethnographic data, I explore how littoral spaces of fishing, faith, and futurity have become contested through the claiming of (supra)sacred places of power and justice.
Chapter
How do Indigenous groups scattered in diaspora over the continents and subcontinents of the world manage to guard, maintain, and sustain the mental health of their peoples? A number of Khmer, the Indigenous inhabitants of Cambodia, started a new life as refugees in Norway after experiencing to the full the catastrophic and traumatic events of the Pol Pot era in the 1970s, when a fourth of the population died. Gwynyth Overland’s sociological study of 30 representatives of this group focused on the unexpected resilience these Khmer demonstrated (Overland 2011, 2012), seeking to understand “not, why they were sick, but why they were healthy” (Antonovsky 2000)—that is, to find the roots of their strength. The author’s method is qualitative, dealing as it does with memories, reflections, and feelings narrated in biographical interviews, dialogue, and participant observation, and explored with a variety of analytical tools. After a brief description of their background, she presents the approach and the forms of analysis used to uncover and understand how these Khmer explain their survival and recovery.
Book
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Why are historically Catholic countries and regions generally more corrupt and less competitive than historically Protestant ones? How has institutionalization of religion influenced the prosperity of countries in Europe and the Americas? This open access book addresses these critical questions by elucidating the hegemonic and emancipatory religious factors leading to these dissimilarities between countries. The book features up-to-date mixed methods from interdisciplinary research contributing to existing studies in the sociology of religion field by demonstrating—for the first time—the effect of the mutually reinforcing configuration of multiple prosperity triggers (religion–politics–environment). It demonstrates the differences in the institutionalization of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism by applying quantitative and qualitative methods and by performing a qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) of 65 countries. The author also provides a comprehensive survey and results of empirical research on different theories of development, focusing on the influence of religion.
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Recent social scientific studies have focused on the different ways in which scientists conceive of the relationship between science and religion, conflict, complementary, independent, or some other understanding. However, there is still much less research on scientists’ religious lives outside the United States and the United Kingdom. Drawing on data from participant observation, in-depth interviews (N = 80) and nationally representative surveys (N = 1,763) with physicists and biologists in India, we begin to address this gap. We find that even though the majority of scientists report the independence view through our survey, when interviewed they say that religion and scientific work overlap considerably and in distinctive ways from the United States and the United Kingdom. Specifically, Indian scientific institutions (1) seek religious authorization, (2) offer religious accommodation to staff and students, and (3) facilitate selective integration of religion into the workplace. Our article shows how, in spite of scientists’ espoused preferences for non-overlapping magisteria and attempts to construct boundaries between religion and science, religion overlaps with science in scientific workplaces.
Article
In this article I address the tensions between normative political philosophy and aesthetic cosmopolitanism. Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida have been two of the most influential philosophers to engage with the political and ethical questions of cosmopolitanism. Habermas has drawn on the foundations established by Immanuel Kant and set out to define an institutional framework that could secure the rights of people in an age of mobility. Derrida’s emphasis is more heavily slanted to ethical relations rather than geo-political structures. He reversed Kant’s starting point, by placing the exposure to the other and the necessity of hospitality as the basis of freedom and truth. While both Habermas and Derrida have developed their political philosophy by working in close touch with Kant, the transcendental aspects of his thinking is now totally absent in the contemporary debates. As a general rule political philosophy has averted its gaze from the cosmos, and more generally it has to be noted that it has bracketed the founding philosophical concepts of aesthetics and physis. The focus is mostly on the terrain of anthropos, polis and the nomos. In short, the discussion begins and ends within the normative parameters of cosmopolitanism. By contrast, artists from the pioneering modernists like Malevich to contemporary figures such as Saraceno have never abandoned the quest for cosmogony. The ethical orientation of aesthetic cosmopolitanism appears to co-exist with a wider claim of belonging to the cosmos. In this article I contrast the orientation and scope of thinking between normative and aesthetic cosmopolitanism in order to reframe the spheres of connections in contemporary thought.
Article
This article examines the temporality of dispensationalist imaginings of the apocalypse, with a particular focus on why such imaginings often have an acutely violent character. For the Brethren and for Jehovah's Witnesses, the most convincing signs of the imminent apocalypse are violent ones. By drawing on a mixture of biblical and extra‐biblical images—flames, hail, missiles—dispensationalism creates a semiotic landscape filled with natural, supernatural, and “man‐made” disaster. By analyzing different images of “violent endings” in circulation among the Brethren and Jehovah's Witnesses, this article asks two questions, namely, what are the temporal effects of such violent imaginings, and what imaginings exist on the other side of such violence, after its perpetration? I seek to answer these questions by developing a mode of inquiry I call anthropology‐as‐theology, whereby anthropological analysis deliberately surrenders to theological ideas. I suggest that, when viewed from the perspective of anthropology‐as‐theology, violent dispensationalist visions about the end of the world can provide new perspectives on permanence, which, seen through the lens of revelation, comes to be understood as both novel and eternal. Este artículo examina la temporalidad de las imaginaciones dispensacionalistas del apocalipsis con un enfoque particular en cómo tales imaginaciones a menudo tienen un carácter extremadamente violento. Para los hermanos y los testigos de Jehová, las señales más convincentes del inminente apocalipsis son violentas. Al basarse en una mezcla de imágenes bíblicas y extrabíblicas –llamas, granizo, misiles– el dispensacionalismo crea un paisaje semiótico colmado de desastre natural, sobrenatural y hecho por humanos. Al analizar imágenes diferentes de “finales violentos” en circulación entre los hermanos y los testigos de Jehová, este artículo hace dos preguntas, a saber, ¿cuáles son los efectos temporales de tales imaginaciones violentas? Y ¿qué imaginaciones existen en el otro lado de tal violencia, después de su perpetración? Busco responder estas preguntas al desarrollar un modo de investigación que llamo antropología‐como‐teología, a través del cual el análisis antropológico deliberadamente se entrega a las ideas teológicas. Sugiero que, cuando visto desde la perspectiva de la antropología‐como‐teología, las visiones dispensacionalistas violentas acerca del final del mundo pueden proveer nuevas perspectivas sobre la permanencia, la cual vista a través del lente de la revelación, llega a ser entendida tanto como novedosa como perpetua. [apocalipsis, teología, tiempo, milenarismo, cristianismo] Dieser Artikel untersucht das Zeitverständnis dispensationalistischer Apokalypse‐Vorstellungen, mit Schwerpunkt auf der Frage, warum solchen Vorstellungen oft ein akut gewaltsamer Charakter innewohnt. Für Brüdergemeinden und Zeugen Jehovas gehört Gewalt zu den überzeugendsten Zeichen einer unmittelbar bevorstehenden Apokalypse. In einer Mischung aus biblischen und außerbiblischen Bildern—Flammen, Hagel, Raketen—erschafft ihr Dispensationalismus eine semiotische Landschaft, die mit natürlichen, übernatürlichen und menschengemachten Katastrophen gefüllt ist. Der Artikel analysiert derartige “gewaltsame Enden,” die unter Brüdern und Zeugen Jehovas zirkulieren, und stellt dabei zwei Fragen: was sind die temporalen Effekte solcher gewaltsamen Vorstellungen, und welchen Vorstellungen existieren zur anderen Seite dieser Gewalt, d.h. wenn diese verübt worden ist? Ich versuche diese Fragen mit einer Untersuchungsmethode zu beantworten, die ich Ethnologie‐als‐Theologie nenne, da sich hier Ethnologie absichtlich theologischen Ideen unterwirft. Ich werde aufzeigen, dass gewaltsame dispensationalistische Visionen, wenn sie aus der Perspektive der Ethnologie‐als‐Theologie betrachtet werden, neue Perspektiven auf Permanenz aufscheinen lassen, die wiederum durch die Linse der Offenbarung betrachtet als neu und ewig zugleich verstanden werden kann. [apokalypse, theologie, zeit, millenarismus, Christentum]
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Achieving a sense of life meaning has been proposed as an evolutionary adaptation that promotes the human need for self-actualization. This study explores how various dimensions of religiosity are associated with life purpose during emerging adulthood, a stage of the life course where religious decline and the search for meaning and purpose intersect. Prior studies on this topic, however, have typically not accounted for across-time fluctuations in religiosity. Therefore, using two waves of data from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) (2005-2008), we consider how changes in religious attendance and perceived closeness with God are associated with changes in life meaning and purpose. Results suggest that consistent or increasing attendance and closeness with God predict greater life purpose, while declines in attendance associate with lower purpose. We discuss possible mechanism that may underlie our findings within the current religious climate of the United States.
Book
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The Anthropocene is the emergence of a unique systemic situation, the overlaying of two very different modes of systemic organization as human consciousness has become a major component in global and biosphere function. So far the Anthropocene, characterized by climate change and a cascading sixth mass extinction event, manifests a misfit between the functional parameters of human consciousness and the systemic dynamics of a living globe. This book investigates the emergence and nature of this misfit, prognosis for the future, and the nature of adjustments necessary if there is indeed to be much of a future for human civilization.
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This article analyzes the cult of the souls in Purgatory in Puerto Berrío, Colombia, and its relationship with the Catholic Church. Through empirical evidence, it identifies three characteristics of this cult, namely, its relative independence from the Catholic Church, its heterogeneity and its utilitarian character, and compares them with other cases of Latin American popular Catholicism. The particularities of the cult enable an analysis of how popular religion, rather than generating a conflict with the Catholic Church, maintains an ambiguous relationship with it. The case shows that popular religion not only incorporates the symbolic structure of the Catholic Church to legitimize itself, but also that the church tolerates it, contributing to the peaceful coexistence of the popular and the institutionalized. Consequently, this leads believers, instead of adhering to a supposed binary opposition, to shift between popular and institutionalized religion.
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This paper explores how political ecology can advance existing understandings of the BRI and its effects, and how the BRI can contribute to recent shifts in the study of political ecology. It argues that the idea of infrastructural overlap can sensitise discourse to the ways in which the materialisations of the BRI as a series of infrastructural megaprojects intersect with other infrastructural formations, such as the environment and religion. By focussing on the effects of the BRI on resource dependent communities located between the “commons” and the “cosmos” we can appreciate the sense of existential crisis that is triggered and exacerbated by China’s world-building agenda. This is particularly evident in Southeast Asia, where a variety of indigenous communities reflecting a spectrum of beliefs reveal how the sacred politics of the BRI are beginning to manifest. Drawing on the examples of the Lower Sesan 2 dam in Cambodia and the Myitsone dam in Myanmar, three frames are proposed to guide future research on the BRI: recognising variegated and intersecting “sacrednesses”; navigating soft, religious and spiritual power; and reconciling the sacred politics of displacement and dispossession.
Article
The era in which we live is known geologically as the anthropocene . Conceptualizing it as a psychological phenomenon is rare; this article contributes to that effort. The anthropocene is a potent symbol of destruction, active in psyches of both individuals and the collective. Jung’s Answer to Job examined apocalyptic tragedy in one man’s life. A feature of that tragedy was distinct roles: perpetrator and victim. Considering the apocalyptic possibilities of the anthropocene requires less-distinct separation of those roles. In these times, people’s responses to threat illustrate how the anthropocene is psychologically burdensome, for some people more than others. As do other symbols, the anthropocene places both interior demands and external responsibilities on the psyche. Some are presented, to illustrate a Jungian perspective on the psychological problems and healing imperatives of the era in which we live.
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En el actual contexto global de pluralismo religioso, el reconocimiento social e institucional de los grupos religiosos depende, por una parte, de los marcos normativos y de la voluntad política de los representantes públicos y de sus gestores; y, por otra, de las estrategias de institucionalización que adopten los grupos religiosos, como su visibilización en el espacio público o la participación ciudadana en la vida política del municipio. El análisis de estas relaciones y de su incidencia en la sociedad, permite, analizar la emergencia de nuevos modelos de gobernanza de lo religioso en el ámbito local. Este artículo pretende, a partir del estudio de caso de la comunidad musulmana bangladesí de Madrid en el barrio de Lavapiés, analizar la gestión del Ayuntamiento de Madrid de la diversidad religiosa de la ciudad entre 2015 y 2019, coincidiendo con la alcaldía de Manuela Carmena y la candidatura ciudadana de Ahora Madrid.
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After the Cold War melted down, bitter ethnic and religious conflicts heated up all over the globe. Endless images of death and violence now flash daily across the globe, as the multiple faces of evil and suffering stare steadfastly into our own. Our task, our moral imperative is urgent. This essay is an attempt to understand the awful dynamics of human-inflicted suffering, of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ in traditional parlance. Human beings make war and kill each other in a way that no other species does, that no other species could, that no other species would. Somehow, we must make sense of it all. We must be able to discern some patterns, some common dynamics, behind behaviour that is repeated so often, in so many different times and places.KeywordsReligious thoughtSocial scienceSocializationIdentity
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There is a common notion that the New Age or what this chapter calls Self‐religion is ineffective or uncontributing to society. However, significant evidence demonstrates otherwise. This chapter aims to: (1) redefine and rename the New Age to Self‐religion, which is argued to be more appropriate to religion today; (2) contextualise Self‐religion to the framework of Ulrich Beck (2010) in his A God of One's Own: Religion's Capacity for Peace and Potential for Violence ; (3) analyse global peace movements according to this framework; and (4) argue that Self‐religion is not only highly active in contributing to social change but also may be the key to effective peace movements. Ultimately, it is in the very nature of Self‐religion that allows for peaceful social movements to occur.
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The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan is the Protestant denomination with the longest tradition on the island. There has been a Presbyterian mission in Taiwan for over 150 years, and it supported the initial modernization of Taiwanese society, especially regarding the introduction of modern medicine and the Western education system. Later on, it became politically active, supporting the struggle for human rights, minority rights, democratization, and the creation of Taiwanese national identity. Through its commitment to political and social reform, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan has built an excellent reputation among Taiwanese society and has become well-known outside Christian circles. The chapter shows how Presbyterianism transformed from its early days as a foreign mission spreading the Christian Gospel into being a localized church acting as an agent for political change in Taiwan.
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This, the first article in our co-edited Thematic Issue, “Eating Religiously: Food and Faith in the 21st Century“ introduces Food, Culture and Society readers to the intriguing research questions posed by the volume’s authors, who discussed these with us in a novel Israel Science Foundation-sponsored international conference at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in May 2019. We open this Introduction by presenting a contemporary paradox in which demands for resurrecting ancient animal sacrifices and encouraging the re-traditionalization of religious practices coexist with the growing influence of ecological, climate change and animal rights advocates’ pressures to ban such sacrifices and embrace veganism. After adding a brief overview of the growing anthropological subfield of Food and Religion, we set out the main concepts that guide the structure of this volume and explicate the social, cultural and political importance that considerations of eating religiously bring to bear in the 21st century.
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This article shows that studying the views of future Russian lawyers on the projective future of society is a relevant development, since this particular socio-professional group does not only put forward certain demands in regards to projective subjective social wellbeing, but also possesses the lawmaking potential necessary for the transformation and normative engineering of Russian society. The article analyzes the results of the author’s own research, conducted in 2016 in 12 cities of Russia (based on All- Russian State University of Justice and its subsidiaries). According to the author, the results of research in the field reveal a relatively high level of subjective wellbeing registered among the respondents, with their core values being justice, freedom, upholding law and order, public initiative. In order to measure normative expectations, those surveyed were offered to characterize three models of a supposed society using an array of parameters: “the best society” (utopian), “a bad society” (dystopian) and “a good society” (one that’s attainable and suitable for life and personal growth). As a result, certain projective requirement indexes were obtained for implementing these models in a future society. It came as somewhat of a surprise that, in spite of the widespread belief that the value orientations of modern youth have a “consumer” nature to them, material wellbeing turned out to be far from the most significant parameter. The highest values were shown by indexes which correlated with such virtues as justice, equality and lawfulness, which speaks to their considerable influence on the respondents’ evaluation of their subjective wellbeing. The authors also noticed a fundamental difference when it comes to future Russian lawyers’ thoughts on the paths towards attaining justice. The indexes for a society constantly subject to reform and a conservative society were practically on the same level. This indirectly points to the existence of a deeply rooted divide when it comes to values, indicating that people are looking into the future with uncertainty, which is proven by a multitude of studies done by other authors.
Article
Background It is estimated that around half of American adults have changed religion or denomination at least once, yet little is known about the effect of different motives on these changes.PurposeThis paper seeks to understand the motives driving religious change and the relationship between the reason for religious change on the nature of that change, be it denominational switching, conversion, or disaffiliation.Methods The data come from the Pew 2007 Religious Landscape Survey and 2008 Conversion Recontact Survey. First, reasons for changing religion are presented, followed by a series of binary logistic and multinomial regressions that analyze religious changes, their motivations, and justifications.ResultsAmong the many reasons for changing religious affiliation, motives directly associated with personal aspects of religion are much more commonly cited than mundane rationales, such as marriage or geographic mobility. Disaffiliates are more likely to view their religious change as being motivated by personal religious concerns, whereas denominational switchers and, to a lesser extent, converts tend to cite mundane motives.Conclusions and ImplicationsDecisions regarding affiliation are the most likely to be attributed to personal religious motives, either in an attempt to justify actions to family and friends who have remained religious or because affiliation and non-affiliation are perceived as religiously distinct. Denomination switching and conversion are associated with mundane motives, perhaps due to the rise of religious pluralism, which asserts the validity of a range of religious options, reducing the religious significance of denominational switching and conversion. Thus, personal religious motives play a role in deciding whether to consume religion as a product, while choices regarding a particular brand of religion are attributed to more mundane concerns. This paper adds to our understanding of the interplay between secular, communal, and personal religious motives in shaping religious preferences. In doing so, it sheds light on the nature of such decisions and the broader religious landscape. Additionally, it may provide insights useful to religious leaders on how they might best attract new affiliates.
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