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Strong religion: the rise of fundamentalisms around the world

Terms and Definitions

This excellent work comes out of the Fundamentalism Project, a ten year effort by academics from across subject, national, religious and cultural divides to understand and analyse the role of militant religious movements committed to anti modernist and secularist programmes. Its chapters deal with historical/anthropological analysis of fundamentalist movements; definitions of 'fundamentalism' and the movements that fall within this understanding; explaining how these movements come about and are shaped by a dialogue with the modern world (not just their historical/sacred narratives); and finally how these movements could be expected to be shaped/behave in the future.

The authors apply an understanding of 'fundamentalism' which is narrower than many accounts, seeing it as a religious reaction to discourses of modernity and secularisation in their host societies. As such, this work is an attempt to re-address the role of religion in these movements, which are often studied mainly within ethno-nationalist, political or economic frames. Within this understanding, the authors look at characteristics of fundamentalism and the different species within the overall genus.

Because of the focus on religion, and specifically on those movements that react adversely to modern secularity, the definitions in this book may be considered too narrow by many readers.  However, they are a clearly defined and thought out paradigm which provides a useful counterpoint to the often secularist accounts which downplay the role of religion in such cases.

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