Ritual and the Sacred discusses some of the most important issues of modern socio-political life through the lens of a neo-Durkheimian perspective. Building on the main lesson of Durkheim's Elementary Forms of Religious Life, this book articulates values and practices common to non-Western and religious traditions that have the capacity to shape our modern way of living. Central to this volume is the question of modernity and scepticism with regard to mainstream Western wisdom; Rosati focuses on the notion of societal self-reassessment and self-revision, illustrating a willingness to learn from ’primitive’ societies. This reassessment necessitates us to rethink the central roles played by ritual and the sacred as building blocks of social and individual life, both of which remain salient features within the modern world. This title will be of key interest to sociologists of religion, philosophy politics and social theorists.
Massimo Rosati is a lecturer of Sociology at the University of Rome 'Tor Vergata', Italy.
'Rosati offers us a brilliant interpretation of Durkheim as a post-positivist thinker. Taking ritual and tradition seriously, he shows us how Durkheim’s understanding of these provides us with the formal criteria for living the good life, indeed, as supplying the very conditions for individual judgment and autonomy. This book will be a touchstone for all future studies of religion and selfhood.' Adam Seligman, Boston University, USA 'This book overcomes the barren confrontation between secularization theorists and "return of the sacred" supporters, showing the heuristic advantage of putting in opposition the concepts of ritual and the sacred, rather than those of religion and the sacred - a compelling argument revealing the centrality of ritual in our society.' Enzo Pace, University of Padua, Italy 'The author makes a strong case that Durkheim is underestimated as a critic of modernity, and, connectedly, that the loss of ritual as a dimension of social life is a heavy loss, indeed. Rosati writes with a clear but understated sense of moral urgency. The book is highly recommended on all of these counts...' Contemporary Sociology