Fundamentalism / Edition 2

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The new edition of Steve Bruce's Fundamentalism grapples with the combination of social strains and religious ideas that have produced an explosion of fundamentalist activity in the wake of 9/11.

In a direct and punchy style, the new edition of his book investigates what lies behind the actions of Al-Qaeda, suicide bombings and the 'war against terror', and also gets to grips with the continuing rise of the Christian Right in the USA. It offers new insights into the Protestant fundamentalism of the American political right-wing, looking at the influence issues such as abortion, gay rights and 'intelligent design' have had on US foreign policy and domestic politics.

Bruce's broad sociological analysis rejects the narrowly-conceived notion that fundamentalists are suffering from some kind of abnormal psychology, persuasively demonstrating fundamentalism's importance as a symptom of rapid social change.

Social science has generally focused on the social circumstances that produce extremist movements and regarded their religious ideologies as window-dressing. This study takes the religious elements of fundamentalism seriously.

Topics tackled in the book include:

* Why are some religions more likely than others to produce fundamentalism?

* Why do they differ in their willingness to use violence to pursue their goals?

* Does fundamentalism pose a serious challenge or sustainable alternative to the secular, liberal democracy of Western society?

This thought-provoking and highly topical book will be essential reading for students of any discipline drawing on the sociology of religion. It will also appeal to those beyond the academic community who want to know what fundamentalism really means today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Admirably concise, the book presents a comprehensivetreatment of the subject ... It’s a highly engaging andaccessible introduction.”
Times Higher Education

"Steve Bruce writes always with great lucidity from a clearlystated point of view. His essay on fundamentalism is no exception.It is well informed and easily accessible and it deserves to betaken seriously even by people who disagree with his view."
Martin Riesebrodt, University of Chicago

"The term fundamentalism is generally used carelessly, and oftenused rhetorically to suggest (for example) that American (orUlster) conservative Protestants are on a par with Islamistradicals. In this important and definitive book Steve Bruceprovides a trenchant sociological analysis of what fundamentalismis, and outlines its kinds, causes and consequences. He also setshis analysis of fundamentalism in the context of an extremelysuccinct account of secularisation. In particular he shows thatfundamentalism of whatever kind has no chance of succeeding. Thisis a very useful book for the commentariat as well the interestededucated reader."
David Martin, London School of Economics and PoliticalScience

"Trenchant, informative and wide-ranging, Steve Bruce’sbook demolishes popular myths, forcing us to confront the complexsocial realities of traditionally-minded religious communitiesthreatened by the incursions of secular modernity.Fundamentalism is essential reading for anyone seeking tounderstand the dynamics of religion in the contemporaryworld."
Alan Aldridge, University of Nottingham

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745640761
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/18/2008
  • Series: Polity Key Concepts in the Social Sciences Series
  • Edition description: 2nd, Revised and Updated Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 0.31 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Bruce is Professor of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen.

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Table of Contents


Introduction to the Second Edition.

1 The Nature of the Beast.

2 Modernity: the Great Satan.

3 Islamic Fundamentalism.

4 Fundamentalism in the USA.

5 Fundamentalisms: Causes and Consequences.


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