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The theory of secularisation became a virtually unchallenged truth of twentieth-century social science. First sketched out by Enlightenment philosophers, then transformed into an irreversible global process by nineteenth-century thinkers, the theory was given substance by the precipitate drop in religious practice across Western Europe in the 1960s. However, the re-emergence of acute conflicts at the interface between religion and politics has confounded such assumptions. It is clear that these ideas must be rethought. Yet, as this distinguished, international team of scholars reveal, not everything contained in the idea of secularisation was false. Analyses of developments since 1500 reveal a wide spectrum of historical processes: partial secularisation in some spheres has been accompanied by sacralisation in others. Utilising new approaches derived from history, philosophy, politics and anthropology, the essays collected in Religion and the Political Imagination offer new ways of thinking about the urgency of religious issues in the contemporary world.
Ira Katznelson is Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History at Columbia University and Research Associate at the Centre for History and Economics, King's College, Cambridge. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, Professor Katznelson has published widely on the history of the western liberal tradition. Gareth Stedman Jones is Professor of Political Thought in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge. A Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, he is also Director of the Centre for History and Economics. Professor Stedman Jones has written widely on the history of nineteenth-and twentieth-century European political thought.
Table of Contents
List of contributors
Introduction: multiple secularities
Secularisation: religion and the roots of innovation in the political sphere
Regarding toleration and liberalism: considerations from the Anglo-Jewish experience
The Enlightenment, the late eighteenth-century revolutions and their aftermath: the 'secularising' implications of Protestantism?
In the lands of the Ottomans: religion and politics
The Russian Orthodox Church and secularisation
The American experience of secularisation
French Catholic political thought from the deconfessionalisation of the state to the recognition of religious freedom
Religion and the origins of socialism
From 1848 to Christian Democracy
The disciplining of the religious conscience in nineteenth-century British politics
Colonial secularism and Islamism in North India: a relationship of creativity
Gendering secularisation: locating women in the transformation of British Christianity in the 1960s
Does constitutionalisation lead to secularisation?
Europe's uneasy marriage of secularism and Christianity since 1945 and the challenge of contemporary religious pluralism
On thick and thin religion: some critical reflections on secularisation theory
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