Topic 5 - Religion in a global context

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Globalisation in India:
Globalisation has brought rapid economic growth and created a huge and prosperous scientifically
educated middle class
Nanda - majority of this class remains religious. Centre for the Study of Developing Societies 2007 -
30% of Indians said they have become more religious in the last 5 years
Nanda rejects poverty and existential insecurity as an explanation - they are not poor
increasing religiosity is result of their ambivalence about newfound wealth
Modern versions if Hinduism legitimate position of m/c and allow them to adjust to globalised
consumer capitalism
Hinduism ultra-nationalism:
Pew Global Attitude Survey - 93% of Indians believe their cultural is superior
Hinduism is the essence of Indian culture and identity and has become a civil religion
Capitalism in East Asia:
Argued that religion has played a role in development of capitalism
Redding - spirit of capitalism among Chinese entrepreneurs in tiger economies leads to economic
productivity and accumulation of capital - 'Post Confucian' values encourage hard work, self discipline
and commitment to self improvement and education
Pentecostalism in Latin America - Berger:
Pentecostalism in Latin America encourages development of capitalism
Latin America Pentecostalists embrace a work ethic and lifestyle similar to that of Calvinists - demands
ascetic way of life that emphasises personal discipline, hard work and abstinence from alcohol - this
encourages members to prosper
However, Berger recognises that religious ideas alone are not enough to produce economic
development
Religious fundamentalism:
Giddens - fundamentalists believe in the literal truth of scripture and are intolerant to others
Growth of fundamentalism is because of globalisation (it is a response to post-modernity - this is
because globalisation undermines traditional social norms
Fundamentalism offers faith-based answers as opposed to rational reasons
Castells distinguishes two responses to post-modernity
1. Resistant identity - defensive reaction - feel threatened and so retreat to fundamentalism
2. Project identity - forward-looking and engage in social movements
Bruce: fundamentalism is confined to monotheistic religions. This is because they are based on a notion
of God's will through a single sacred text - no scope for different interpretations
Cultural Defence:
This is where religion serves to unite a community against an external threat
Poland 1945 - 1989, under communist rule. Catholic Church suppressed but it served as a popular
rallying point for opposition and lent its active support to the Solidarity free trade union that did much to
end communism. Church has since had influence on Polish politics
Religion and the 'clash of civilisations' - Huntington:
Global conflicts cause clash of civilisations
Shared religion can cause social cohesion within civilisations but conflict between them
Religious difference have become a source of national identity but these differences are creating a new
set of hostile 'us and them' relationship with increased competition for military and economic power
Believes west is under threat especially from Islam
CRITICISED BY JACKSON - HUNTINGTON'S WORK IS AN EXAMPLE OF OREINTALISM (WESTERN IDEOLOGY THAT
STEREOTYPES EASTERN NATIONS AND PEOPLE AND UNTRUSTWORTHY AND INFERIOR AND SERVES TO JUSTIFY
EXPLOITATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES BY THE WEST

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