From Civil to Political Religion: The Intersection of Culture, Religion and Politics

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Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 2001 M08 23 - 293 páginas

Prompted by the shattering of the bonds between religion and the political order brought about by the Enlightenment, Jean-Jacques Rousseau devised a “new” religion (civil religion) to be used by the state as a way of enforcing civic unity. Emile Durkheim, by contrast, conceived civil religion to be a spontaneous phenomenon arising from society itself — a non-coercive force expressing the self-identify or self-definition of a people. In 1967, the American sociologist Robert Bellah rediscovered the concept and applied it to American society in its Durkheimian form.

Ever since Bellah’s publication, most authors have sought to explain civil religion in terms of an alleged “spontaneous” integrative role for society. They have emphasized the religious and cultural dimension of the concept, but failed to give due consideration to its political-ideological foundations. Thus, the coercive potential of civil religion has received little attention or has been wrongly relegated to Third World countries.

Cristi provides a critique of the civil religion thesis, and identifies the most basic deficiencies of literature on this topic. By contrasting Bellah’s Durkheimian conception with Rousseau’s original formulation, the author discloses the dubious conceptual and empirical basis of the former. She demonstrates the need to rethink Bellah’s thesis in the light of a reinterpretation of Rousseau’s and Durkheim’s classical approaches, and substantiates her critique with a brief comparative survey of state-directed civil religions, and with an informative case study of civil religion in Pinochet’s Chile.

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From civil to political religion: the intersection of culture, religion and politics

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Contenido

Introduction
1
Chapter 1 Theoretical Foundations
15
Chapter 2 American Civil Religion and the American Debate
47
Chapter 3 The Problem of Legitimacy Power and Politics
91
Chapter 4 StateDirected Civil Religions in Comparative Perspective
135
A Case Study
165
Chapter 6 Civil Religion and the Spirit of Nationalism
187
Durkheim versus Rousseau Revisited
223
Notes
243
References
265
Index
285
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Página 52 - With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
Página 131 - God has not been preparing the English-speaking and Teutonic peoples for a thousand years for nothing but vain and idle self-contemplation and self-admiration. No! He has made us the master organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns.
Página 50 - It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the SUPREME BEING, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe.
Página 32 - There can be no society which does not feel the need of upholding and reaffirming at regular intervals the collective sentiments and the collective ideas which make its unity and its personality.
Página 245 - Our government makes no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith - and I don't care what it is," and isn't that a complete negation of any real religion?
Página 131 - And of all our race He has marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the regeneration of the world.
Página 116 - Above the pyramid on the great seal of the United States it says — in Latin — "God has favored our undertaking." God will not favor everything that we do. It is rather our duty to divine His will. But I cannot help believing that He truly understands and that He really favors the undertaking that we begin here tonight.
Página 22 - The existence of a powerful, intelligent, beneficent divinity that foresees and provides; the life to come; the happiness of the just; the punishment of the wicked; the sanctity of the social contract and of the laws.
Página 193 - As long as there are States, so there will be national pride, and nothing can be more warranted. But societies can have their pride, not in being the greatest or the wealthiest, but in being the most just, the best organized and in possessing the best moral constitution.

Acerca del autor (2001)

Marcela Cristi currently teaches sociology at the University of Waterloo.

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