The Sociology of Religion has had several frameworks guiding its
analysis including functionalism, interpretive sociology,
phenomenology, symbolic interactionism and now rational choice
theory. Marxism has tended to ignore religion assuming it is
something that would eventually disappear even though it retained
theological elements. This collection of essays brings together a
group of scholars who use frameworks provided by Marx and Critical
Theory in analyzing religion. It's goal is to establish a critical
theory of religion within the sociology of religion as an
alternative to rational choice. In doing so, it engages in a
critique of the positivism, uncritical praise of the market
(neoconservativism) and one dimensional conception of rationality
of the rational choice theory of religion.
Warren S. Goldstein (Ph.D. New School for Social Research) is
Executive Director of the Center for Critical Research on Religion
(www.criticaltheoryofreligion.org) and a Visiting Fellow
(2009-2010) of The Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard
University. He has published articles in several journals including
Critical Sociology, Sociology of Religion, Implicit Religion, and
Humanity and Society. His research revolves around developing a
critical sociology of religion (with a dialectical theory of
secularization as its central focus) as a "new paradigm" in the
sociology of religion.
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