Religious Fundamentalism: Global, Local and Personal
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How does a religious fundamentalist come to embrace a counter-cultural world view?
Fundamentalism can be analysed from a variety of perspectives. It is a type of belief system which enables individuals to make sense of their lives and provides them with an identity. It is a social phenomenon, in which strictly religious people act according to the norms, values, and beliefs of the group to which they belong. It is a cultural product, in the sense that different cultural settings result in different forms of fundamentalism. And it is a global phenomenon, in the obvious sense that it is to be found everywhere, and also because it is both a reaction against, and also a part of, the globalising modern world.
Religious Fundamentalism deals with all of these four levels of analysis, uniquely combining sociological and psychological perspectives, and relating them to each other. Each chapter is followed by a lengthy case study, and these range from a close textual analysis of George W. Bush’s second inaugural speech through to a treatment of Al-Qaida as a global media event.
This book provides a comprehensive social scientific perspective on a subject of immense contemporary significance, and should be of use both to university students and also to students of the contemporary world.
therefore to be construed as ﬂuid patterns of features, in which people and cultures are in dynamic relation, continuously both inﬂuencing and being inﬂuenced by each other. Thinking of a culture as a static entity rather than as a continuous process has several dangerous consequences. First, it becomes very easy to treat the category of persons whose culture it is as a homogeneous stereotype, diﬀerent from one’s own culture (from the perspective of which one is making the judgement). Second, it
tack. They now examined such topics as conformity, social identity, and prejudice as individual internal psychological processes, which nevertheless had their origins and outcomes in interactions with others. Thus, while sociological analysis focuses strongly upon fundamentalisms as social movements, much of the psychological research on fundamentalisms has adopted a predominantly individual level of analysis. Selecting beliefs, values, attitudes and norms of behaviour as their topics for study,
enemy is liberal theology, the prototype is that of sound and orthodox scholar. When it is gays or feminists, the prototype becomes righteous moral crusader. If the leader is to continue to be prototypical when the identity of the enemy changes, he has to adapt his own persona. 92 Religious Fundamentalism Leader as chosen A second step for the would-be leader is to establish God’s imprimatur on his leadership by means of a story of special selection or call to leadership, over and above the
leaving redemption to the Almighty, rather than seeking to hasten it by one’s own eﬀorts, was re-inforced. The miniature Israels that ﬂourished locally throughout the Diaspora should continue to observe the Law, and God would redeem them in His own good time. Thus, in the nineteenth century, when the Jews of the Western European Diaspora began to take on board the ideas of the Enlightenment, the orthodox tradition held ﬁrm. As far as the Haredim, or pious Jews, were concerned, accommodation to
settlement councils. The subsequent Palestinian intifadas have probably strengthened the hand of Yesha and Gush. The national response has been to seek to unite against a common enemy, and the settlers are seen by many as heroes in the struggle. They may have become, as Sprinzak (1981) argues, the tip of the iceberg, the underwater part representing their popular support throughout the nation. However, several recent government actions have provoked their opposition. The Oslo Accords of 1998, the