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Gods in the Global Village

Gods in the Global Village
The World's Religions in Sociological Perspective

Fourth Edition

April 2015 | 416 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
In a world plagued by religious conflict, how can the various religious and secular traditions coexist peacefully on the planet? And, what role does sociology play in helping us understand the state of religious life in a globalizing world? In the Fourth Edition of Gods in the Global Village, author Lester Kurtz continues to address these questions. This text is an engaging, thought-provoking examination of the relationships among the major faith traditions that inform the thinking and ethical standards of most people in the emerging global social order. Thoroughly updated to reflect recent events, the book discusses the role of religion in our daily lives and global politics, and the ways in which religion is both an agent of, and barrier to, social change.
About the Author
1. Religious Life in the Global Village
Religion and the Globalization of Social Life  
Religion and the Sociological Tradition  
Tools of the Trade  
Three Pillars of Analysis: Beliefs, Rituals, and Institutions  
Major Themes in the Sociology of Religion  
2. A Sociological Tour: Turning East
Types of Religious Traditions  
Hinduism, or Sanatana Dharma  
Religious Life in China and East Asia  
3. The Tour: Western Religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Prolegomena: The Ancient Greeks  
Kinship Network Continuities in Judaism and Islam  
The Social Construction of Religious Traditions  
The Elementary Forms of Religious Life  
4. Indigenous Religions
Indigenous Beliefs  
Indigenous Rituals  
Indigenous Institutions  
Indigenous Environmentalism  
5. The Religious Ethos
Constructing a Religious Ethos  
Religion and Identity Construction  
Religion and Stratification  
Religious Taboo Lines and Ethical Systems  
Religion and Sexuality  
Religion and Politics  
The Ethos of the Global Village  
6. Modernism and Multiculturalism
From Local to Cosmopolitan  
The Challenge of Modernism  
Historical Outcomes of the Modernist Crisis  
The Modernist Crisis and the 21st Century  
The Crisis of Multiculturalism  
7. Religious Movements for a New Century
Civil Religion and Nationalism  
Religious Syncretism and Alternative Religious Movements  
New Forms of Religiosity  
Women’s Movements  
Religious Environmental Movements  
Constructing and Reconstructing Religious Life  
8. Religion and Social Conflict
A Theory of Religious Conflict  
Religion and the Problem of Violence  
Religious Contributions to Nonviolence  
Islam and Nonviolence  
Chaos or Community?  

very useable for seminar "pop & religion"

Professor Dr. Christoph Jacke
Popular Music and Media, University of Paderborn
June 19, 2015

New section on Ancient Greek religion, which had a profound impact on Western civilization, from politics to art and architecture, as well as the Western religions, especially Christianity.


New section on the Sunni-Shia divide in Islam, a centuries-old conflict that has been revitalized by current events and political power struggles, and led to the rise rise of the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS). This section focuses on the role of religion in the conflict, providing an historical overview and sociological perspective.


Indigenous religions chapter has been expanded and updated.

The role of faith traditions in the debate about climate change is discussed.

Sunstantial new scholarship about the role of women across many religious traditions has been added.


Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 7

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Lester R. Kurtz

Lester R. Kurtz is Professor of Public Sociology at George Mason University, where he teaches the comparative sociology of religion, peace and conflict, social movements, globalization, and both Western and non-Western social theory. He has lectured regularly at the European Peace University and was previously Director of Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Kurtz holds a Master’s in Religion from Yale Divinity School and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. He is editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace, & Conflict (Elsevier), coeditor of the two-volume Women, War and Violence... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781483374123

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