Manufacturing Religion: The Discourse on Sui Generis Religion and the Politics of Nostalgia
Oxford University Press, 19 Jun 1997 - 272 halaman
In this new book, author Russell McCutcheon offers a powerful critique of traditional scholarship on religion, focusing on multiple interrelated targets. Most prominent among these are the History of Religions as a discipline; Mircea Eliade, one of the founders of the modern discipline; recent scholarship on Eliade's life and politics; contemporary textbooks on world religions; and the oft-repeated bromide that "religion" is a sui generis phenomenon. McCutcheon skillfully analyzes the ideological basis for and service of the sui generis argument, demonstrating that it has been used to constitute the field's object of study in a form that is ahistoric, apolitical, fetishized, and sacrosanct. As such, he charges, it has helped to create departments, jobs, and publication outlets for those who are comfortable with such a suspect construction, while establishing a disciplinary ethos of astounding theoretical naivete and a body of scholarship to match. Surveying the textbooks available for introductory courses in comparative religion, the author finds that they uniformly adopt the sui generis line and all that comes with it. As a result, he argues, they are not just uncritical (which helps keep them popular among the audiences for which they are intended, but badly disserve), but actively inhibit the emergence of critical perspectives and capacities. And on the geo-political scale, he contends, the study of religion as an ahistorical category participates in a larger system of political domination and economic and cultural imperialism.
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The Manufacture of Religion
1 Ideological Strategies and the Politics of Nostalgia
2 Autonomy Discourses and Social Privilege
3 The Debate on the Autonomy of Eliade
4 The Poverty of Theory in the Classroom
5 The Category Religion in Recent Scholarship
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academic according actions analysis appears approach aspect asserts associated assumption attempt authority autonomy basis beliefs chapter claim comparative concerning constitutes construct context continue contribution course critical critique cultural debate defend definition developed discourse distinct dominant early economic efforts Eliade Eliade's employ essay essentially evidence examined example exclusively experience explain fact field generis religion grounded historical human identify implications important institutional intellectual interest interpretation issues maintain material meaning methods myths naturalistic nature normative object origins particular past political position possible practices present presumed privilege problem production provides question reading reference relations religious sacred scholarly scholars of religion scholarship simply Smith social society sociopolitical specific strategies study of religion suggest sui generis religion symbols texts theological theoretical theories tradition ultimately understand understood unique writes
Halaman vii - The frontiers of a book are never clear-cut: beyond the title, the first lines, and the last full stop, beyond its internal configuration and its autonomous form, it is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network.
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