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In seeking to make sense of modernity in the classical tradition of sociology as a field, the body of the American sociologist Robert Bellah's work spans the social sciences and comparative cultural fields. It embraces the global diversity and coherence of religion as the key to culture across civilizations and epochs within the framework of human evolution. Formally trained as a student of tribal cultures, East Asian civilization, and Islam, Bellah engages the West, and America in particular, as problematic cases that can only be understood in the broadest comparative perspective on human cultural development. This global perspective informs Bellah's conceptions of religious evolution in general and civil religion in particular. This entry first examines Bellah's understanding of the role of religion in human ...

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