The second edition of this major book on the social analysis of religion incorporates a substantial new introduction by Bryan S Turner. Religion and Social Theory assesses the different theoretical approaches to the social function of religion. Turner discusses at length the ideas of key contributors to these approaches (including Engels, Durkheim, Weber, Nietzsche, Freud, Parsons, Marcuse, Habermas and Foucault). In so doing, he develops a distinctive perspective on the role of religion as an institutional link between economic and human reproduction.
Social theories of religion are explored through a resolutely comparative and historical analysis of the Abrahamic faiths - Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Relating comparative religion to the social context of individualism, civil religions and political legitimacy, the book makes a major contribution to the analysis of conflict and consensus in social systems.
Bryan S. Turner is Professor of Sociology in the Asian Research Institute (ARI) at the National University of Singapore. Previously he was Professor of Sociology in the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge from 1998-2005. His research interests include globalization and religion, concentrating on such issues as religious conflict and the modern state, religious authority and electronic information, religious, consumerism and youth cultures, human rights and religion, the human body, medical change, and religious cosmologies. He is Joint Chief Editor of the journal Citizenship Studies and serves on the editorial boards of several prestigious journals.