Is the concept of religion universalisable?

Shah, Prakash

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Presented at a workshop on "Religion, Discrimination and Accommodation: the Role of the State in a Multi-Faith Society" in September 2008, this paper interrogates the concept of 'religion'. Nowadays treated as a taken-for-granted concept, 'religion' has generally tended to be viewed as a universal in that it is seen as present in all (or most) societies across the world. This paper problematises this view by locating the concept of religion in the Western Christian culture as well as in the three Abhrahamic traditions. It thereby questions whether its foundational role in those cultures can travel across cultural boundaries in the manner which has often been contended in social science. It ends by asking that if the concept of religion is, in fact, culture-specific, how we can address issues which are currently of concern and currently being flagged up under its umbrella by using that very concept.

Document type: Article
Date: 2008
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2009 13:12
Faculties / Institutes: Organisations / Associations / Foundations > Centre for Applied South Asian Studies (CASAS)
DDC-classification: Religion
Controlled Keywords: Religion, Universalität
Uncontrolled Keywords: Religionkonzeption , Westliche Tradition , Nicht-westliche Traditions, Concept of Religion , Western Tradition , Non Western Tradition
Subject (classification): Religion and Philosophy
Series: Themen > CASAS Online Papers: Religion
Volume: 1
Additional Information: Elektronische Erstveröffentlichung auf: \\Paper presented for AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Workshop on ‘Religion, Discrimination and Accommodation: the Role of the State in a Multi-Faith Society’, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, 17 September 2008