The Mainline in Late Modernity

Tradition and Innovation in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Maren Freudenberg

In the last fifty years, religion in America has changed dramatically, and Mainline Protestantism is following suit. This book reveals a fundamental transformation taking place in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA is looking to postdenominational Christianity for inspiration on how to attract people to the pews, but is at the same time intent on preserving its confessional, liturgical tradition as much as possible in late modernity. As American religion grows increasingly experiential and individualistic, the ELCA is caught between its church heritage and a highly innovative culture that demands participative structures and a personal relationship with the divine. In the midst of this tension, the ELCA is deflating its church hierarchy and encouraging people to become involved in congregations on their own terms, while it continues to celebrate its confessional, liturgical identity. But can this balance between individual and institution be upheld in the long run? Or will the democratization and pluralization of the faith ultimately undermine the church? This book explores how the ELCA attempts to resist the forces of Americanization in late modernity even as it slowly but surely comes to resemble mainstream American religion more and more.

Repostings from the AASR: Calls for Papers, Book Announcements, and Job Openings.

Here are the latest event, book, and job announcements from the newsletter of the Australian Association for the Study of Religion

Click the links or visit https://www.aasr.org.au/january-2018/ for information.

Call for Papers

Islamic Ethics and the Trusteeship Paradigm: Interdisciplinary Explorations

Religious Marriages in the Mediterranean Conference 20-21st March 2018

Religion Area for the 9th Annual International Conference of the Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand July 2-4, 2018

Disputing Religion and Politics Research: How Western/Eurocentric is its Agenda? Hamburg 24-26 August 2018

Populist politics and the minority voice: British Muslims, extremisms and inclusion 19 April 2018

Multiple Religious Identities – Individuals, Communities, Traditions
16th Annual Conference of the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) / IAHR Regional Conference, Bern 2018

Religions and Identities in the European Migration Crisis – Abstract deadline: January, 31

Post-global Religion, EASR conference 17-21 June in Bern

Academic Publications

Siddiqi, Bulbul (2018) Becoming ‘Good Muslim’: The Tablighi Jamaat in the UK and Bangladesh, Springer

Chakrabarti, Anindita (2018) Faith and Social Movements: Religious Reform in Contemporary India, published by Cambridge University Press

Knut A. Jacobsen (2018) Yoga in Modern Hinduism: Hariharānanda Āraṇya and Sāṃkhyayoga, Routeldge

Foroutan, Y. (2017), Muslim Minority of New Zealand in Global Context: Demographic Perspective, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 37 (4): 511-519.

Račius, Egdūnas (2018) Muslims in Eastern Europe, Edinburgh University Press

Academic Positions

Four Ph.D. research fellowships available at MF-Norwegian    School of Theology

Two vacancies as postdoc at MF-Norwegian School of Theology, with effect from 1st of September 2018

(Thanks to Dr Milad Milani)

Sociology of Exorcism in Late Modernity

http://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9783319717722#aboutBook

This book provides a sociological understanding of the phenomenon of exorcism and an analysis of the reasons for its contemporary re-emergence and impact on various communities. It argues that exorcism has become a religious commodity with the potential to strengthen a religion’s attraction to adherents, whilst also ensuring its hold. It shows that due to intense competition between religious groups in our multi-faith societies, religious groups are now competing for authority over the supernatural by ‘branding’ their particular type of exorcism ritual in order to validate the strength of their own belief system. Sociology of Exorcism in Late Modernity features a detailed case-study of a Catholic exorcist in the south of Europe who dealt with more than 1,000 cases during a decade of work.

Giuseppe Giordan is Associate Professor of Sociology of Religion at the University of Padua, Italy.

Adam Possamai is Professor of Sociology and Director of Research at the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University, Australia.

 

 

Book Announcement: “Faith and Social Movements: Religious Reform in Contemporary India”

Dear members,
My book titled Faith and Social Movements: Religious Reform in Contemporary India, published by Cambridge University Press, has come out this year.
http://assets.cambridge.org/97811071/66622/frontmatter/9781107166622_frontmatter.pdf
It might be of interest to some of you.
Best,
Anindita Chakrabarti
Associate Professor (Sociology)
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
IIT Kanpur
India

Book Announcement: Muslims in Eastern Europe

Egdūnas Račius
2018, Edinburg University Press

The history and contemporary situation of Muslim communities in Eastern Europe are explored here from three angles. First, survival, telling of the resilience of these Muslim communities in the face of often restrictive state policies and hostile social environments, especially during the Communist period. Next, their subsequent revival in the aftermath of the Cold War, and last, transformation, looking at the profound changes currently taking place in the demographic composition of the communities and in the forms of Islam practiced by them. The reader is shown a picture of the general trends common to the Muslim communities of Eastern Europe, and the special characteristics of clusters of states, such as the Baltics, the Balkans, the Višegrad states, and the European states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Egdūnas Račius

Associate Editor, Journal of Muslims in Europe

http://www.brill.com/publications/journals/journal-muslims-europe

Muslims in Eastern Europe, Edinburgh University Press, 2018
https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-muslims-in-eastern-europe.html

Research Report: “Religion in Public Life: Levelling the Ground”, by Grace Davie

It is a commonplace, nowadays, to say that religion has returned to public life. And like most commonplaces it is partially true. Religion is most certainly present in public life in new and highly visible ways but to imply that religion was once nowhere and is now everywhere is seriously misleading.

We need instead to enquire into the factors that have brought about the current shift in perspective. That done, we must examine in detail the different – and at times contrasting – ways in which religion manifests itself is the very varied segments of society that we deem to be public.

In this report, sociologist of religion Professor Grace Davie draws on her 2016 Edward Cadbury Lectures to explore the ‘return’ of religion to public life, analysing a series of ‘levels’ – local, metropolitan, national, and global – and considering why and how we have got here, and what the future holds for religion in Britain. 

The report is available for download at https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/research/2017/10/28/religion-in-public-life-levelling-the-ground

Grace Davie is Professor Emeritus at the University of Exeter. She is author of numerous works on religion and society, including Religion in Britain: A Persistent Paradox (2015, 2nd edition).

New Book: The i-zation of Society, Religion, and Neoliberal Post-Secularism

The i-zation of Society, Religion, and Neoliberal Post-Secularism

Possamai, Adam

https://www.palgrave.com/br/book/9789811059414#aboutBook

This book explores the elective affinity of religion and post-secularism with neoliberalism. With the help of digital capitalism, neoliberalism dominates, more and more, all aspects of life, and religion is not left unaffected. While some faith groups are embracing this hegemony, and others are simply following the signs of the times, changes have been so significant that religion is no longer what it used to be. Linking theories from Fredric Jameson and George Ritzer, this book presents the argument that our present society is going through a process of i-zation in which (1) capitalism dominates not only our outer, social lives (through, for example, global capitalism) but also our inner, personal lives, through its expansion in the digital world, facilitated by various i-technology applications; (2) the McDonaldization process has now been normalized; and (3) religiosity has been standardized. Reviewing the new inequalities present in this i-society, the book considers their impact on Jurgen Habermas’s project of post-secularism, and appraises the roles that various religions may have in supporting and/or countering this process. It concludes by arguing that Habermas’s post-secular project will occur but that, paradoxically, the religious message(s) will be instrumentalized for capitalist purposes.