Varieties of Secularism in Asia: Anthropological Explorations of Religion, Politics and the Spiritual

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Varieties of Secularism is an ethnographically rich, theoretically well-informed, and intellectually coherent volume which builds off the work of Talal Asad, Charles Taylor, and others who have engaged the issue of secularism(s) and in socio-political life. The volume seeks to examine theories of secularism/secularity and examine concrete ethnographic cases in order to further the theoretical discussion.

Whereas Taylor’s magisterial work draws up the conditions and problems of a belief in God in Western modernity, it leaves unexplored the challenges posed by the spiritual in modernity outside of the North Atlantic rim. This anthology seeks to begin that task. It does so by suggesting that the kind of secularity described by Taylor is only one amongst others. By attending to the shifting relationship between proper religion and ‘bad faiths’; between politically valorised and embarrassing spiritual phenomena; between the new visibilities and silences of magic, ancestors, and religion in democratic politics, this book seeks to outline the particular formations of secularism that have become possible in Asia from China to Indonesia and from Bahrain to Timor-Leste.
Original languageEnglish
Place of publicationLondon and New York
Number of pages256
ISBN (Print)9780415616720
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventVarieties of Secularism : Modernity, Religion and Spiritual Politics in Asia - Sandbjerg, Denmark
Duration: 29 May 200831 May 2008
SeriesAnthropology of Asia


ConferenceVarieties of Secularism : Modernity, Religion and Spiritual Politics in Asia

    Research areas

  • secularism, democracy, religion, Asia, spirituality, politics

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ID: 22274021