This is a primarily theoretical meditation on the key findings and arguments put forth in the chapters in this volume. Approaching these representations as the current “state of religion,” it situates them in light of the prognoses from classical thinkers, including Freud, Durkheim, and Weber. Building a conversation among the chapters, it seeks to outline the consequences of these exercises for broader debates in the sociology of religion. The chapter reflects on the divergent, often contradictory meanings (existential, systemic) and meaning-making that the “religious” enables in the range of empirical settings discussed in this volume. It highlights the many forms and disguises “religion” takes depending on the vicissitudes of history and power. While attending to the often-profound subjective significances of religion, this concluding chapter highlights how religious identifications are often complicit with and products of ideological and material domination.
This edited collection harnesses a diversity of interpretivist perspectives to provide a panoramic view of the production, experiences, contexts, and meanings of religion.
Scholars from the US, South Asia and Europe explore religious phenomena using ethnographic, comparative historical, psychosocial, and critical theoretical approaches. Each chapter addresses foundational themes in the study of religion – from identity, discourse and power to ritual, emotion, and embodiment. Authors examine dynamic intersections of race, gender, history, and the present within the religious traditions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism, as well as among the non-religious.
Cutting boldly across religious traditions and paradigms, the book investigates areas of harmony and contradiction across different interpretive lenses to achieve a richer understanding of the meanings of religion.