The Critique of Religion and Religion’s Critique: On Dialectical Religiology, Dustin J. Byrd compiles numerous essays honouring the life and work of the Critical Theorist, Rudolf J. Siebert. His “dialectical religiology,” rooted in the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, especially Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Leo Löwenthal, and Jürgen Habermas, is both a theory and method of understanding religion’s critique of modernity and modernity’s critique of religion. Born out of the Enlightenment and its most important thinkers, i.e. Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, religion is understood to be dialectical in nature. It contains within it both revolutionary and emancipatory elements, but also reactionary and regressive elements, which perpetuate mankind’s continual debasement, enslavement, and oppression. Thus, religion by nature is conflicted within itself and thus stands against itself. Dialectical Religiology attempts to rescue those elements of religion from the dustbin of history and reintroduce them into society via their determinate negation. As such, it attempts to resolve the social, political, theological, and philosophical antagonisms that plague the modern world, in hopes of producing a more peaceful, justice-filled, equal, and reconciled society. The contributors to this book recognize the tremendous contributions of Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert in the fields of philosophy, sociology, history, and theology, and have profited from his long career. This book attempts to honour that life and work.
Contributors include: Edmund Arens, Gregory Baum, Francis Brassard, Dustin J. Byrd, Denis R. Janz, Gottfried Küenzlen, Mislav Kukoč, Michael, R. Ott, Rudolf J. Siebert, Hans K. Weitensteiner, and Brian C. Wilson.
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.
The contributors to
Bringing Back the Social into the Sociology of Religion explore how 'bringing the social back into the sociology of religion' makes possible a more adequate sociological understanding of such topics as power, emotions, the self, or ethnic relations in religious life. In particular, they do so by engaging with social theories and addressing issues of epistemology and scientific reflexivity. The chapters of this book cover a range of different religious traditions and regions of the world such as Sufism in Pakistan; the Kabbalah Centre in Europe, Brazil and Israel; African Christian missions in Europe; and Evangelical Christianity in France and Oceania. They are based upon original empirical research, making use of a range of methods - quantitative, ethnographic and documentary.
Alvin W. Gouldner (1920-1980) was a leading sociologist of his era who provided groundbreaking analyses in the areas of industrial sociology, critical sociological theory, ideology, reciprocity, and class analysis. Even as a self-avowed radical sociologist, Gouldner was unable to maintain allegiance to any particular theorist or theoretical school, for doing so could lead to theory becoming blind partisanship leading to unreflective and sometimes destructive practices (e.g., the problem of the communist dictator). In
Confronting Gouldner James J. Chriss confronts the larger issue of the place of critical theory, and specifically Marxism, in framing the perspective of sociology as political activism. Through this confrontation with Gouldner, the author explores the implications of critical theory as it relates to social justice, marriage and family, religion, political activism, public sociology, and deviance and crime.