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Religion in the Contemporary World: A Sociological Introduction [Paperback]

Alan Aldridge

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Book Description

25 Jan 2013
In the new edition of this widely praised text, Alan Aldridge examines the complex realities of religious belief, practice and institutions. Religion is a powerful and controversial force in the contemporary world, even in supposedly secular societies. Almost all societies seek to cultivate religions and faith communities as sources of social stability and engines of social progress. They also try to combat real and imagined abuses and excess, regulating cults that brainwash vulnerable people, containing fundamentalism that threatens democracy and the progress of science, and identifying terrorists who threaten atrocities in the name of religion. The third edition has been carefully revised to make sure it is fully up to date with recent developments and debates. Major themes in the revised edition include the recently erupted ‘culture war’ between progressive secularists and conservative believers, the diverse manifestations of ‘fundamentalism’ and their impact on the wider society, new individual forms of religious expression in opposition to traditional structures of authority, and the backlash against ‘multiculturalism’ with its controversial implications for the social integration of ethnic and religious minority communities. Impressive in its scholarly analysis of a vibrant and challenging aspect of human societies, the third edition will appeal strongly to students taking courses in the sociology of religion and religious studies, as well as to everyone interested in the place of religion in the contemporary world.

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Review

‘The new edition of Religion in the Contemporary World is a timely guide to the social significance of religion. It is comprehensive, clear and convincing. Alan Aldridge is to be congratulated for writing such a well informed and readable account of both the routine and the eye–catching aspects of religion in various regions of the world. From “cults” to civil religion, from secularization to state control, and from diversity to identity, the analysis of arguments and examples is challenging and shrewd. This is the sociology of religion at its best.’ James A. Beckford, University of Warwick ‘Aldridge provides an insightful and thoughtfully engaged discussion of the many varieties of religion in contemporary society. His smooth narrative and timely examples make religion come alive on the page and illuminate why it continues to be such a significant social force.’ Michele Dillon, University of New Hampshire "This is a well–written and concise book and a thoughtful insight about the meaning and purpose of religion and religious belief for a contemporaneous and social society. This would be an important read for students and scholars interested in the sociological narrative and should certainly be a primary source of reference for those interested in why religion continues to hold its persuasive force." Benjamin Bury, Birmingham

About the Author

Alan Aldridge is former reader in the sociology of culture at the University of Nottingham.

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