Religious Fundamentalism : Global, Local and Personal book cover
1st Edition

Religious Fundamentalism
Global, Local and Personal

ISBN 9780415422093
Published November 3, 2008 by Routledge
325 Pages

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Book Description

How does a religious fundamentalist come to embrace a counter-cultural world view?

Fundamentalism can be analysed from a variety of perspectives. It is a type of belief system which enables individuals to make sense of their lives and provides them with an identity. It is a social phenomenon, in which strictly religious people act according to the norms, values, and beliefs of the group to which they belong. It is a cultural product, in the sense that different cultural settings result in different forms of fundamentalism. And it is a global phenomenon, in the obvious sense that it is to be found everywhere, and also because it is both a reaction against, and also a part of, the globalising modern world.

Religious Fundamentalism deals with all of these four levels of analysis, uniquely combining sociological and psychological perspectives, and relating them to each other. Each chapter is followed by a lengthy case study, and these range from a close textual analysis of George W. Bush’s second inaugural speech through to a treatment of Al-Qaida as a global media event.

This book provides a comprehensive social scientific perspective on a subject of immense contemporary significance, and should be of use both to university students and also to students of the contemporary world.


Table of Contents

Introduction. 1. Fundamentalism is Global. Case Study: Al-Qaida: A Global Fundamentalist Movement. 2. Cultures and Fundamentalisms. Case Study: Civil and Fundamentalist Religion in Bush’s America. 3. Fundamentalisms as Social Movements. Case Study: Gush Emunim: A Nationalist Fundamentalist Movement. 4. Fundamentalist Organisations. Case Study: The Home School Movement and its Organisations. 5. Groups of Fundamentalists. Case Study: Islamic Terrorist Cells. 6. A Central Identity. Case Study: Sayeed Qutb: Ideologue and Martyr. 7. Fundamentalist Beliefs: Process and Contents. Case Study: Reconstructionism: The Theology of Dominion. 8. Fundamentalist Values and Attitudes. Case Study: Friends of their Enemy’s Enemy: The Neturei Karta. 9. Fundamentalist Behaviour: Its Effect on Them and Us. Case Study: Different Perspectives: Jack Straw and the niqab. 10. Fundamentalism is Very Different. Bibliography. Author Index. Subject Index.

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Peter Herriot has been an academic and consultant throughout his working life. Most of his work has been in the field of organizational psychology, specializing in personnel selection, career management, and the employment relationship. Since retirement he has concentrated on the application of social scientific theory and research to the profoundly important current issue of religious fundamentalism. He was himself brought up in a fundamentalist family.


"Essential reading for anyone who would like to understand the many dimensions of fundamentalism in our time. … The analysis is exceptionally clear." The Scientific and Medical Network

"Herriot’s work is a major contribution to the work on fundamentalism and is well thought out and presented, it is especially insightful from a social psychological perspective and is rich with theory and application." – W. Paul Williamson in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

"Peter Herriot has written a remarkably comprehensive study of fundamentalism around the world. His work is comprehensive, scholarly, yet wonderfully readable. Names and movements such as Al-Qaida , Gush Emunim, Sayeed Qutb and Jack Straw and the niqab are presented in provocative case studies that illuminate fundamentalism from a global, local, and personal perspective." - Ralph W. Hood Jr., Professor of Psychology, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA

"The beginning of the twenty-first century has witnessed the resurgence of fundamentalism in all faiths. As scholars of religion have sought to explore and explain the phenomenon with increasing acuity, a number of fresh and dynamic approaches to the study of fundamentalist beliefs and behaviour have emerged.  Peter Herriot's excellent and exemplary investigation is part of the new elite of scholarly endeavour that illuminates and enriches the study of fundamentalism. He engages with the phenomenon broadly, deeply and wisely, providing an accessible yet scholarly account of global religious fundamentalism. This is an outstanding book which makes a highly significant contribution to research and reflection in a growing and rich arena of study." - Revd. Canon Professor Martyn Percy, Principal, Ripon College, Oxford, UK

" A much needed social psychological approach in explaining the emergence and persistence of various fundamentalisms rooted in the major monotheistic religious traditions. [...]There are several interesting cases of fundamentalist expressions that are not only useful in their purpose, but are also enlightening.[...]Herriot’s work is a major contribution to the work on fundamentalism and is well thought out and presented. It is especially insightful from a social psychological perspective and is rich with theory and application." - W. Paul Williamson, in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion