Religious Change and Indigenous Peoples: The Making of Religious Identities, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Religious Change and Indigenous Peoples

The Making of Religious Identities, 1st Edition

By Helena Onnudottir, Adam Possamai


162 pages

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pub: 2013-08-28
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Exploring religious and spiritual changes which have been taking place among Indigenous populations in Australia and New Zealand, this book focuses on important changes in religious affiliation in census data over the last 15 years. Drawing on both local social and political debates, while contextualising the discussion in wider global debates about changing religious identities, especially the growth of Islam, the authors present a critical analysis of the persistent images and discourses on Aboriginal religions and spirituality. This book takes a comparative approach to other Indigenous and minority groups to explore contemporary changes in religious affiliation which have raised questions about resistance to modernity, challenges to the nation state and/or rejection of Christianity or Islam. Helena Onnudottir, Adam Posssamai and Bryan Turner offer a critical analysis to on-going public, political and sociological debates about religious conversion (especially to Islam) and changing religious affiliations (including an increase in the number of people who claim 'no religion') among Indigenous populations. This book also offers a major contribution to the growing debate about conversion to Islam among Australian Aborigines, Maoris and Pacific peoples.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Aboriginal spirituality versus modernity; Post-traditional spirituality and post-Christianity in Australia; Islam in aboriginal Australia; Conversion among indigenous peoples in Australia and New Zealand; The significance of religious identities among aboriginal Australian inmates; The growth of the indigenous religious ’nones’; Conversion, reversion and de-conversion; Conclusion: continuity through change; Appendix; References; Index.

About the Authors

Adam Possamai is Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Western Sydney and the 2010-2014 President for the Sociology of Religion Research Committee from the International Sociological Association. He is also a former President of the Australian Association for the Study of Religions, and a past co-editor of the Australian Religion Studies Review. He is the author several books and papers, and editor of The Handbook of Hyper-Real Religions. Dr Helena Onnudottir is a Social Anthropologist and a lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney. She recently completed a PhD on Australian Aborigines. Professor Bryan Turner is the Director of the Religion and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney and Presidential Professor of Sociology in the Graduate Center at City University New York USA. He has held professorships at Cambridge University and the National University of Singapore. He is the founding editor of the journals Body&Society (with Mike Featherstone), Citizenship Studies and Journal of Classical Sociology (with John O'Neill), and an editorial member of numerous journals including: British Journal of Sociology, Contemporary Islam and the Sociological Review. He edited the New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion, and is the author of many books and papers.

About the Series

Vitality of Indigenous Religions

Routledge's Vitality of Indigenous Religions series offers an exciting cluster of research monographs, drawing together volumes from leading international scholars across a wide range of disciplinary perspectives. Indigenous religions are vital and empowering for many thousands of indigenous peoples globally, and dialogue with, and consideration of, these diverse religious life-ways promises to challenge and refine the methodologies of a number of academic disciplines, whilst greatly enhancing understandings of the world.

This series explores the development of contemporary indigenous religions from traditional, ancestral precursors, but the characteristic contribution of the series is its focus on their living and current manifestations. Devoted to the contemporary expression, experience and understanding of particular indigenous peoples and their religions, books address key issues which include: the sacredness of land, exile from lands, diasporic survival and diversification, the indigenization of Christianity and other missionary religions, sacred language, and re-vitalization movements. Proving of particular value to academics, graduates, postgraduates and higher level undergraduate readers worldwide, this series holds obvious attraction to scholars of Native American studies, Maori studies, African studies and offers invaluable contributions to religious studies, sociology, anthropology, geography and other related subject areas.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Meditations