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PPR Research Seminar

Date: 9 February 2011 Time: 4.00-6.00 pm

Venue: Bowland North SR10

Rebecca Catto: Globalization: Description or Driver of Religious Change?

Work relating religion and globalization has proliferated since the late twentieth century. Religion has been described as a 'critical ingredient of globalization' (Robertson) and the 'original globalizer' (Lehmann). Such descriptions imply religions driving globalization. Nuanced theorizing from scholars such as Robertson and Beyer has distinguished globalization from modernization and secularization and emphasized the variety of potential religious outcomes with globality: decline is not the inevitable result. The significance of context (the local) and culture is also stressed. However, empirical studies of religion and globalization tend to represent religious people and groups responding to global processes, mainly Western-driven neo-liberal capitalism, indicating a one-way, top-down relationship from macro to micro.

In this paper I investigate this mismatch between theory and practice, trying to trace how the interplays between globalization and religion are and can be understood. Assigning causality when faced with the complexity of social reality may be a mug's game and ambiguity and ambivalence inherent. Nonetheless, for interpretation, analytical clarity concerning the dynamic interactions between the global and the religious is desirable.

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Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Politics, Philosophy and Religion PPR

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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