Religion in the Context of Globalization

Essays on Concept, Form, and Political Implication

By Peter Beyer

© 2013 – Routledge

232 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415783583
pub: 2013-06-27
US Dollars$145.00

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About the Book

Peter Beyer has been a central figure in the debate about religion and globalization for many years, this volume is a collection of essays on the relation between religion and globalization with special emphasis on the concept of religion, its modern forms and on the relation of religion to the state.

Featuring a newly written introduction and conclusion which frame the volume and offer the reader guidance on how the arguments fit together, this book brings together ten previously published pieces which focus on the institutional forms and concept of religion in the context of globalizing and modern society. The guiding theme that they all share is the idea that religion and globalization are historically, conceptually, and institutionally related. What has come to constitute religion and what social roles religion plays are not manifestations of a timeless essence, called religion, or even a requirement of human societies. In concept and institutional form, religion is an expression of the historical process of globalization, above all during modern centuries. What religion has become is one of the outcomes of the successive transformations and developments that have brought about contemporary global society.

Including some of the most important theoretical work in the field of religion and globalization, this collection provokes the reader to consider paths for future research in the area, and will be of great interest to students and scholars of religion and politics, globalization and religion and sociology.


Despite its global significance to both politics and culture, religion has not always been on the research agenda of academics studying globalization. However, over the last two decades, Peter Beyer has made a remarkably consistent contribution to the analysis of global religions and religion in globalization. This timely collection pulls together his principal publications, re-affirming his intellectual importance to the field. The result is an impressive assembly of ideas and insights that offers an essential overview of what is at stake.

Bryan S. Turner, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, USA.

Written in crystal-clear language, these ten exciting essays by Peter Beyer invite the reader to an insider's tour of his theoretical observatory. As a result, one gets a new sense of what counts as ‘religion’ in the context of globalization.

Michael Stausberg, Professor of Religion, University of Bergen, Norway.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Observing Religion in the Contemporary Global Context 1. Purity as Hybridization: Religio-Cultural Syncretisms in the Context of Globalization 2. Globalization and Glocalization 3. Conceptions of Religion: On Distinguishing Scientific, Theological, and ‘Official’ Meanings Part 2: The Formation of Religion and Religions in Global Society 4. Social Forms of Religion and Religions in Contemporary Global Society 5. What Counts as Religion in Global Society? From Practice to Theory 6. The City and Beyond as Dialogue: Negotiating Religious Authenticity in Global Society 7. Can the Tail Wag the Dog? Diaspora Reconstructions of Religion in a Globalized Society Part 3: Religion and the Political Domain 8. Defining Religion in Cross-National Perspective: Identity and Difference in Official Conceptions 9. Constitutional Privilege and Constituting Pluralism: Religious Freedom in National, Global, and Legal Context 10. Religion out of place? The Globalization of Fundamentalism

About the Author

Peter Beyer is Professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Religion and Politics

This series aims to publish high quality works on the topic of the resurgence of political forms of religion in both national and international contexts. This trend has been especially noticeable in the post-cold war era (that is, since the late 1980s). It has affected all the ‘world religions’ (including, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism) in various parts of the world (such as, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa).

The series welcomes books that use a variety of approaches to the subject, drawing on scholarship from political science, international relations, security studies, and contemporary history.

Books in the series explore these religions, regions and topics both within and beyond the conventional domain of ‘church-state’ relations to include the impact of religion on politics, conflict and development, including the late Samuel Huntington’s controversial – yet influential – thesis about ‘clashing civilisations’.

In sum, the overall purpose of the book series is to provide a comprehensive survey of what is currently happening in relation to the interaction of religion and politics, both domestically and internationally, in relation to a variety of issues.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General