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
Chapter 4: Religion and Social Movements in Global Society
Religion and Social Movements in Global Society
Thus far, I have approached the possible responses of religion and religious actors to globalization primarily in terms of theoretical distinctions between function/performance and liberal/conservative options. This is only a first general step in analysing what is a highly complex relation and multifarious empirical reality. To carry the inquiry further, this chapter again takes up the idea that religion under modern/global structural conditions has certain disadvantages when compared, say, to political, economic, or scientific communication. This assessment, however, is set in the larger purpose of looking at the very key role that social movements as social systems play in bridging the gap between privatized function and publicly influential performance. Besides contributing a ...