Collectivistic Religions

Religion, Choice, and Identity in Late Modernity

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  • Slavica Jakelic, The University of Virginia, USA
  • Collectivistic Religions draws upon empirical studies of Christianity in Europe to address questions of religion and collective identity, religion and nationalism, religion and public life, and religion and conflict. It moves beyond the attempts to tackle such questions in terms of 'choice' and 'religious nationalism' by introducing the notion of 'collectivistic religions' to contemporary debates surrounding public religions. 

    Using a comparison of several case studies, this book challenges the modernist bias in understanding of collectivistic religions as reducible to national identities. A significant contribution to both the study of religious change in contemporary Europe and the theoretical debates that surround religion and secularization, it will be of key interest to scholars across a range of disciplines, including sociology, political science, religious studies, and geography.

  • Contents: Introduction: when religion is not a choice; Religion and identity: theoretical considerations; Bosnian, Croatian, and Slovenian Catholicisms in contemporary Europe; Bosnian, Croatian, and Slovenian Catholicisms: narratives, legacies, and collective identities; Collectivistic Christianities in the European context; Conclusion; Index.

  • About the Author: Slavica Jakelic is Research Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Co-director of the Program on Religion, Culture, and Democracy at the University of Virginia, USA

  • Reviews: 'Sociology is at its strongest when it is combined with history and Jakelic’s new book is one of the best examples of historical sociology in recent times. The idea of collectivistic religions is a fruitful one for illuminating the link between religion, nationalism, identity and politics. It is impressive in its scholarship and thoroughly persuasive.'
    John D. Brewer, University of Aberdeen, UK

    'This is an important new work on religious identity, theoretically rich, lucidly written and laden with fascinating examples from the Balkans and beyond. It is firmly in the camp of religion matters, tackling the ethno-centric consensus with gusto. Anybody interested in religion and belonging in modern societies needs to read this book.'
    Claire Mitchell, Queens' University Belfast, UK

    'Fully-conversant in both the conceptual and genealogical developments in religious studies, and with the full range of social-scientific theories of religion, identity and social order Jakelic asks a simple but oft-unasked question: why, when scholars are increasingly focused on choice in religion, do so many people feel that they have no choices to make? A significant conceptual advance; this is a brave, fiercely independently-minded, and powerfully argued book.'
    Charles Mathewes, University of Virginia, USA

    'I entirely agree that ways of thinking that depend primarily on choice are not much help in understanding the religious situation in many parts of Europe… In offering an alternative to both [rational choice theory and secularization theory] perspectives, and giving it a name - collectivistic religion - Jakelic is doing us a favour… collectivistic religion is not simply an epiphenomenon: as Jakelic quite rightly says it has ‘agency’ and is as capable of building identities […] as it is of reflecting them.'
    Grace Davie, University of Exeter, UK

    'Notions of birthright religion are well out-of-date among sociologists these days… The notion that religion is biologically primordial is widely deemed an atavistic… But Jakelic rightly argues that this claim is simply Weber’s secularization thesis all over again, and this is an astute point… she tours Europe in an effort to examine the various populations of that continent who belong to some ‘collectivistic religion.’… Better tools make better thinkers, and we’re in debt to Jakelic for providing us with this one.'
    Kevin Schultz, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA

    'Jakelic’s analysis of what she terms ‘collectivistic religions’ is appealing precisely because it pays attention to those crucial conditions and times ‘when religion is not a choice,’ but rather a kind of given point of departure, something that people are ‘born into.’… As Jakelic’s work suggests, more productive approaches would ask how people come to engage with particular moral communities, posing questions that ‘are never just a matter of belief’ and investigating social issues tied to particular historical legacies, cultural formations, and political experiences… Jakelic’s work enables us to re-examine such problems with both critical scrutiny and careful attention to the social complexity of what she aptly calls collectivistic religions.'
    Edin Hajdarpasic, Loyola University Chicago, USA

    'This is an important, specialist book showing how these manifestations of collectivistic religions are flourishing as part of the European religious landscape.'
    Modern Believing

    'A groundbreaking monograph… a theoretical model of analysis which should become part of the standard toolkit of anyone who seeks to understand religion, identity, and social change in the twenty-first century.'
    Church History

    'In her scholarly and socio-historical research, Slavica Jakelic develops the idea of collectivistic religions in a way which illuminates the field of the sociology of religion… Jakelic’s work adds to and deepens our understanding of why […] religion is not only still with us but continues to grow and bring in new members… In this age of rising fundamentalism in a variety of traditions in many countries including the United States, this book has important insights for researchers, teachers, and students of religion… I highly recommend this book to anyone involved in research on and the study of religion in our contemporary world.'
    Contemporary Sociology

  • Extracts from this title are available to view:

    Full contents list

    Introduction

    Index