Religious fundamentalism

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Fundamentalism and cosmopolitanism

  • Giddens (1990) 
    • fundamentalists are traditionalists 
    • the literal truth of scripture 
    • theirs is the only true view of the world 
    • intolerant 
    • avoid contact with others who think differently 
  • sees it as a reaction to globalisation 
  • undermines traditional social norms 
  • in today's late modern society, there is a choice, risk, and uncertainty 
  • it promises certainty in an uncertain world 
  • faith-based answers, in a world that demands rational answers 
  • cosmopolitan is tolerant and open to the views of others 
  • requires people to justify views 
  • lifestyle is the personal choice, rather than prescribed by choice 
  • self-improvement rather than submission to authority 

fundamentalists use modern methods to spread beliefs

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Responses to postmodernity

Bauman (1992) 

  • fundamentalism is a response to postmoderinism 
  • fundamentalists attract people with claims of absolute truth and certainty in a world filled with choice and uncertainty 

Castells (1998) 

  • resistant identity 
    • defensive reaction to those who feel threatened and retreat into fundamentalist communities 
  • Project identity 
    • response to those who are forward looking and engage with social movements 
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Beckford (2003) 

  • distinguish too sharply between fundamentalism and cosmopolitanism 
  • ignore other important developments (e.g. how globalisation affects non-fundamentalist religions) 
  • lumps fundamentalism  together, ignoring differences between them 
  • ignores that reinventing tradition is a reflexive tradition 

Haynes (1998) 

  • shouldn't focus on the idea that Islamic fundamentalism is a reaction to globalisation 
  • promises to improve the living standards fuel fundamentalism 
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Monotheism and fundamentalism

Bruce (2007) 

  • perception of religious traditionalists that the globalised world threaten's their lifestyle
  • when they feel threatened, they develop rigid rules 
  • fundamentalism is confined to monotheistic religions 
  • based on notion of god's will through a single sacred text 
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Two fundamentalisms

In the west 

  • reaction to change within society 
  • towards diversity 
  • e.g. New Christian right agains gender equality, and abortion rights 
  • aims to reassert true religion 

In the third world 

  • reaction to changes from the outside 
  • e.g. islamic war in iran was triggered to western values being imposedd
  • resistance to states attempt to sideline it and confine it to the private sphere 
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