Chapter

Contested Meanings and Definitional Boundaries: <i>Historicizing the Sociology of Religion</i>

Meredith B. McGuire

in Lived Religion

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195172621
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199851942 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172621.003.0002
Contested Meanings and Definitional Boundaries: Historicizing the Sociology of Religion

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This chapter examines the nature of religion and religiosity in Europe before the Reformation era. It analyzes four specific issues that are important for understanding what scholars believe is definitive of real religion and religious action. These include the location of the sacred, the nature of divine power, the focus of individual religious expression and the purity and authenticity of religious tradition and group identity. It suggests that these issues constitute a social reconstruction and they are the result of human struggles over cultural resources and power.

Keywords: religion; religiosity; Europe; Reformation era; social reconstruction; divine power; religious tradition; group identity; religious expression

Chapter.  10481 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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