1st Edition

Religion in Rebellions, Revolutions, and Social Movements

Edited By Warren S. Goldstein, Jean-Pierre Reed Copyright 2022
    286 Pages
    by Routledge

    286 Pages
    by Routledge

    Religion in Rebellions, Revolutions, and Social Movements demonstrates that, while religion is often a social force that maintains, if not legitimates, the sociopolitical order, it is also a decisive factor in economic, social, and political conflict.

    The book explores how and under what conditions religion functions as a progressive and/or reactionary force that compels people to challenge or protect social orders. The authors focus on the role that religion has played in peasant, slave, and plebeian rebellions; revolutions, including the Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Iranian; and modern social movements. In addition to these case studies, the book also contains theoretical chapters that explore the relationship religious thought has with the politics of liberation and oppression. It examines the institutional, organizational, ritualistic, discursive, ideological, and/or framing mechanisms that give religion its oppressive and liberating structures. Many scholars of religion continue very conventional modes of thinking, ignoring how religion has been—and continues to be—both a hegemonic and counterhegemonic force in conflict. This book looks at both sides of the equation.

    This international and interdisciplinary volume will be of interest to students and scholars in the fields of politics of religion, sociology of religion, religious studies, gender studies, and history.

    1. An Introduction to the Critical Study of Religion in Rebellions, Revolutions, and Social Movements

    Jean-Pierre Reed and Warren S. Goldstein

    Part I: Rebellions

    2. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels on Religion and Revolution

    Michael Löwy

    3. Mandate for Revolution? Reconsidering Chinese Peasant Rebellions in Terms of Changing One’s Destiny

    Roland Boer

    4. Peasant Revolt Against the Roman Imperial Order in Ancient Palestine

    Richard Horsley

    5. John Ball and the 1381 English Uprising: From Rebellion to Revolutions

    James Crossley

    Part II: Revolutions

    6. A Second Path: Nuns in the Early French Revolution, 1789–1791

    Corinne Gressang

    7. "Elective Affinities" Between Eastern Orthodox Christianity and the 1917 Russian Revolution

    Tamara Prosic

    8. "The Spirit of the Spiritless World": The Shiʿa Rituals of Muharram and the 1979 Iranian Revolution

    Babak Rahimi

    9. The Ambivalence of African Independent/Initiated Churches in Colonial and Postcolonial Politics

    Joram Tarusarira and Bernard Pindukai Humbe

    Part III: Social Movements

    10. Theorizing Religion, Social Movements, and Social Change

    Anna Peterson

    11. Mobilizing Religion in Twenty-First Century Nativism in the United States

    Rhys H. Williams

    12. Elective Affinities Between Liberation Theology and Ecology in Latin America

    Luis Martínez Andrade

    13. Indigenous Spirituality and the Decolonization of Religious Beliefs: Embodied Theology, Collectivity, and Justice

    Sylvia Marcos

    14. Epilogue: On the Significance of Religion for Rebellions, Revolutions, and Social Movements

    Jean-Pierre Reed and Warren S. Goldstein


    Warren S. Goldstein, Executive Director of the Center for Critical Research on Religion, USA www.criticaltheoryofreligion.org) has a Ph.D. in Sociology from the New School for Social Research. He is the editor of Critical Research on Religion (SAGE Publications) and Series Editor of “Studies in Critical Research on Religion” (Brill Academic Publishers and Haymarket Books).

    Jean-Pierre Reed is Associate Professor of Sociology, Africana Studies, and Philosophy at Southern Illinois University, USA. His primary research interests include the sociology of revolutions/social movements, theory, culture, and liberation theology.

    Religion in Rebellions, Revolutions, and Social Movements presents fascinating historical material and demonstrates the importance of probing into the many uses of religion in transformational social contexts, as it has demonstrably played – and will likely continue to play – a significant role in socio-political developments and events of historical import. The volume is thus a welcome contribution to the study of the interactions between religion and politics, and is recommended to students and scholars of radical social change who harbor an interest in the role of ideology production for political mobilization, as well as in the affordances of religion as an organizational factor in sustaining political action.

    Mikheil Kakabadze, Stockholm University, Sweden, writing in Politics, Religion & Ideology, 2023 (https://doi.org/10.1080/21567689.2023.2196118)

    Religion in Rebellions, Revolutions, and Social Movements brings together a wide range of topics and case studies centering religion in social and political change. Broadly speaking, the critical religion framework and analytic approach that guides many of the contributions will be of particular interest to scholars working within the humanities and religious studies… One of the key strengths of Goldstein and Reed’s edited volume is the inclusion of a variety of relatively understudied cases that will be new to many social movement scholars.”

    Scott T. Fitzgerald, University of North Carolina Charlotte, USA, writing in Mobilization (2023)

    “This book provides creative, detailed studies of ten cases of religious involvement in rebellions, revolutions, and social movements across history [and] also two chapters that address theory… [The editors] ground the volume in the critical theory of religion… It is to their credit that they have collected a fine set of very detailed studies that show some of the multiple ways that the politicality of religions works.”

    James V. Spickard, University of Redlands, USA, writing in the Journal of Contemporary Religion, 38:2, 368-370, 2023 (https://doi.org/10.1080/13537903.2023.2203979)

    Religion in Rebellions, Revolutions, and Social Movements, edited by Warren S. Goldstein and Jean-Pierre Reed, is an impressive collection exploring the many ways religion can be involved in political and social movements… One of the most important theoretical contributions of this book is its insistence that religion is not solely a force for progressive change but neither is it innately a tool to further conservative agendas… [Reed and Goldstein] give the impression of a very coherent conversation taking place in the book, indeed, one that develops and changes based on the contributions of the chapters within it. Many thanks to the volume editors and authors for contributing to this stimulating intellectual conversation.”

    Sarah E. Rollens, Rhodes College, USA, writing in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 2023, XX, 1–3, https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfad061

    “The book is a groundbreaking and comprehensive anthology that delves deeply into the intricate relationship between religion and major societal upheavals throughout history. This book is a remarkable collection of fourteen essays and case studies that offer an insightful examination of how religion, often perceived as a conservative force, can also be a powerful catalyst for change, conflict, and transformation in the realms of economics, society, and politics… This book is a must-read for scholars and students in various fields, including the politics of religion, sociology of religion, religious studies, gender studies, and history.”

    Tarek Ladjal, Effat University, Saudi Arabia, writing in Politics and Religion Journal, 17:2, 437–439, 2023