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Sociology of religion experienced renewed vigor in the last quarter of the twentieth century, paralleling a coincident resurgence of traditional religion in much, although not all, of the world. For several decades in the middle of the century, years bracketed by the emergence of Talcott Parsons as a social theorist in the 1930s and the campaign of Jimmy Carter for U.S. president in the 1970s, Western social theorists broadly assumed that traditional religion was fated either to retreat into insignificance or to merge into the universalistic value system of modern society. Such assumptions became untenable in view of the growing public confidence of evangelicalism and corresponding malaise of liberal Protestantism in the United States and the rise of militant Islam in the Middle East. Soon, ...

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