In his exploration of the interaction between religion and worldwide social and cultural change, the author examines the major theories of global change and discusses the ways in which such change impinges on contemporary religious practice, meaning and influence. Beyer explores some of the key issues in understanding the shape of religion today, including religion as culture and as social system, pure and applied religion, privatized and publicly influential religion, and liberal versus conservative religions. He goes on to apply these issues to five contemporary illustrative cases: the American Christian Right; Liberation Theology movements in Latin America; the Islamic Revolution in Iran; Zionists in Israel; and religiou

Four Approaches to Globalization

Four approaches to globalization

The social-scientific development of globalization as a specific theoretical and empirical theme is relatively recent. Much of the literature has appeared only since the late 1970s and 1980s, although significant seminal contributions date from the decade previous.1 This is not to say that the process of globalization itself began so recently. It may well be, however, that the emergence of the scientific discussion at this juncture reflects something like a new phase in the process, one which calls for the recasting of inherited theoretical conceptions. Accordingly, globalization theory distinguishes itself from longer established worldwide perspectives in that it takes as its primary unit of social analysis the entire globe, which it treats as a single social system. This changes ...

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