1st Edition

Japanese Religions and Globalization

By Ugo Dessì Copyright 2013
    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book analyzes the variety of ways through which Japanese religions (Buddhism, Shintō, and new religious movements) contribute to the dynamics of accelerated globalization in recent decades. It looks at how Japanese religions provide material to cultural global flows, thus acting as carriers of globalization, and how they respond to these flows by shaping new glocal identities.

    The book highlights how, paradoxically, these processes of religious hybridization may be closely intertwined with the promotion of cultural chauvinism. It shows how on the one hand religion in Japan is engaged in border negotiation with global subsystems such as politics, secular education, and science, and how on the other hand, it tries to find new legitimation by addressing pressing global problems such as war, the environmental crisis, and economic disparities left unsolved by the dominant subsystems.

    A significant contribution to advancing an understanding of modern Japanese religious life, this book is of interest to academics working in the fields of Japanese Studies, Asian history and religion and the sociology of religion.

    Introduction 1. The Risk of Cultural Bias: Definitions and Phases 2. 'One True World Religion Among Many Others'? 3. Shaping New Glocal Identities 4. Glocalization, Cultural Chauvinism, and Resistance to Change 5. Glocalization Overseas 6. Carriers of Globalization 7. Border Negotiation in Global Society (1): Religion and Politics 8. Border Negotiation in Global Society (2): Religion, Education and Science 9. Addressing Global Problems 10. Conclusion


    Ugo Dessì is a lecturer at the Institute of Religious Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany. He has published widely on Shin Buddhism and Japanese religions.

    "Dessi’s volume constitutes an indispensable reference that is already bearing fruit (see the recent contributions in Amstutz and Dessi 2014)." Girardo Rodriguez Plasencia Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University


    Altogether, this book is an excellent introduction to theories of religion and globalization from both Japanese and non-Japanese perspectives and offers the reader a broad window into the various institutional dynamics that shape the ways Japanese religions are articulated with and active agents within global discourses. - Isaac GAGNÉ, Waseda University


    "Dessì skillfully employs an interdisciplinary approach (among others informed by
    systems theory), always thoroughly positioning his line of argument amid a close reading of relevant original sources.
    He argues that globalization increasingly patterns the discursive trajectories upon which Japanese religions navigate.
    In other words, he views religious change, to a growing extent, as the effect of deliberate or unintentional
    responses to the forces of an evermore globalized environment. Dessì’s study is a tour de force, a must read for
    the student of contemporary East Asian and Japanese religions."
    Lukas Pokorny
    Stockholm University, Religious Studies Review • VOLUME 41 • NUMBER 3 • SEPTEMBER 2015