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Drawing on extensive field research in Sri Lanka, Abeysekara illustrates how differing meanings of such religious and national concepts come into central view and then fade, denying them fixity. Proposing an alternative, he develops the concept of "minute conjunctures of contingency" and places it in modest opposition to the work of Michel Foucault and other leading postmodern thinkers.
Abeysekara attends to these minute conjunctures of contingency to understand such categories as religion and difference, Buddhism and politics, civilization and terror. He thereby resists today's antiessentialist arguments without falling back on yesterday's foundationalist claims. Viewing religion through this lens, Abeysekara contends, has profound political implications for how we might more generally think about and begin to disrupt entrenched presumptions of postcolonial cultural difference.
|Series Editor's Preface|
|Ch. 1||Limits of Disciplinary Claims on Religion and Culture||1|
|Ch. 2||Shifting Configurations of Religious Identity and Difference||30|
|Ch. 3||Formations of Religion and Politics||67|
|Ch. 4||A New Economy of Religious Identity||109|
|Ch. 5||Religion, Nation, and Rulers||143|
|Ch. 6||Tradition and Difference||174|
|Ch. 7||Violence and Religion, Terror(ism) and Identity||201|
Posted September 5, 2003
Dr. Abeysekara's book is, at times, a difficult read. But the reader's patience is amply rewarded by the subtle though crucial (and actually quite interesting) theoretical point that he makes. By the second chapter, I found myself not only convinced but fascinated by the cases that he uses to illustrate his argument. On the issue of 'Buddhist Identity' this book is an important corrective to many of the other works currently being published on the current situation in Sri Lanka. Any future study of this issue will have to first contend with the arguments of this book. A fascinating read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.