Engaging with the idea that the world reveals not one, but many routes to modernity, this volume explores the role of religion in the emergence of multiple forms of modernity, which evolve according to specific cultural conditions and interpretations of the 'modern project'. It draws upon case study material from Africa, The Middle East, Russia and South America to examine the question of whether modernity, democracy and secularism are universalistic concepts or are, on the contrary, unique to Western civilization, whilst considering the relationship of postsecularism to the varied paths of modern development. Drawing together work from leading social theorists, this critical theoretical contribution to current debates will appeal to sociologists, social theorists and political scientists, with interests in religion, secularization and postsecularization theory and transitions to modernity in the contemporary globalized world.
’Querying our understanding of secular, modern culture in the light of contemporary religious resurgence, this book contends that the Western model of modernization, according to which secular culture replaces religion, is not applicable to most of humanity. Opting instead for the idea of multiple modernities, or different patterns of modernization in different places, the authors suggest that developments in non-Western cultures might augur what will happen in the West, with postsecular societies experiencing religious pluralism, and religion perhaps acting as a driving force towards modernization in some societies. A wide-ranging and thorough collection, this book is at the forefront of literature on this topic, challenging readers with its analysis and depiction of the many transfers between religion and secularization. These essays will drive scholars to reformulate and refine their theories of secularization.’ Gabriel Motzkin, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute 'I learned a good deal from reading this collection, most of it about the societies revealed in the case studies. The complexities and intricacies of these studies, and the tangled relations between religion and politics that exist within the societies studied, make vivid the truth that the realities of modernization are far too multifarious to be easily captured by any theoretical framework.' Journal of Church and State