The Critical Analysis of Religious Diversity


Drawing on international and thematic case studies, The Critical Analysis of Religious Diversity asks its readers to pay attention to the assumptions and processes by which scholars, religious practitioners and states construct religious diversity. The study has three foci: theoretical and methodological issues; religious diversity in non-Western contexts; and religious diversity in social contexts. Together, these trans-contextual studies are utilised to develop a critical analysis exploring how agency, power and language construct understandings of religious diversity. As a result, the book argues that reflexive scholarship needs to consider that the dynamics of diversification and homogenisation are fundamental to understanding social and religious life, that religious diversity is a Western concept, and that definitions of ‘religious diversity’ are often entangled by and within dynamic empirical realities.

Contributors are: Martin Baumann, Peter Beyer, Jørn Borup, Paul Bramadat, Marian Burchardt, Henrik Reintoft Christensen, Andrew Dawson, Mar Griera, Anna Halafoff, William Hoverd, Lene Kühle, Mar Marcos, Stefania Travagnin, and Andreas Tunger-Zanetti.

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Lene Kühle, PhD (2004), Department of the Study of Religion, Aarhus University, is Professor WSR at that university. She has published widely in English and Danish on religious diversity, Muslims in Denmark, radicalisation and religion in public institutions.
William Hoverd, PhD (2012), Victoria University of Wellington, is Senior Lecturer at Massey University, New Zealand. He has published widely on religion in New Zealand. Wil was a DFAIT post-doctoral fellow at the Religion & Diversity Project, at the University of Ottawa, Canada in 2011/2012.
Jørn Borup, PhD (2002), Department of the Study of Religion, Aarhus University, is Associate Professor at that university. He has conducted research and published in Danish and English on Buddhism (East and West), religious diversity, spirituality, and religion and migration.
Tim Jensen
Author Biographies

Introduction: The Critical Analysis of Religious Diversity
Lene Kühle and William Hoverd

Part 1: Theoretical and Methodological Issues

Introduction to Part 1
1 Religious Diversity, Institutionalized Religion, and Religion That is Not Religion
Peter Beyer
2 Counting and Mapping Religious Diversity: Methodological Challenges, Unintended Consequences, and Political Implications
Mar Griera
3 Constructing and Deconstructing Religious Diversity: The Measurement of Religious Affiliation in Denmark and New Zealand
William Hoverd and Lene Kühle
4 Globally Modern – Dynamically Diverse: How Global Modernity Engenders Dynamic Diversity
Andrew Dawson

Part 2: Religious Diversity in Non-modern and Non-western Contexts

Introduction to Part 2
5 Religious Diversity and Discourses of Toleration in Classical Antiquity
Mar Marcos
6 Managing and Negotiating Asian Religious Unities and Diversities
Jørn Borup
7 A Harmonious Plurality of ‘Religious’ Expressions: Theories and Case Studies from the Chinese Practice of (Religious) Diversity
Stefania Travagnin

Part 3: Religious Diversity in Societal Contexts

Introduction to Part 3
8 Constructing and Representing the New Religious Diversity with Old Classifications: ‘World Religions’ as an Excluding Category in Interreligious Dialogue in Switzerland
Martin Baumann and Andreas Tunger-Zanetti
9 He Said, We Said: Religion in the York University Controversy of 2013–2014
Paul Bramadat
10 Interfaith Youth in Australia: A Critical Reflection on Religious Diversity, Literacy, and Identity
Anna Halafoff
11 Religious Diversity and the News: Critical Issues in the Study of Religion and Media
Henrik Reintoft Christensen
12 Law and Religious Diversity: How South African Courts Distinguish Religion, Witchcraft and Culture
Marian Burchardt
Conclusion: The Problems of Religious Diversity
Lene Kühle

This book will be of interest to those wanting to develop a reflexive approach to religious diversity scholarship, be they graduate student, policy maker, religious practitioner or research group leader.
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