Fundamentalism 2nd Edition
This insightful and provocative new study explores the combination of social strains and religious ideas that have produced such fundamentalist movements as the Islamic revolution in Iran and the new Christian Right in the USA.
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. It explains why some religions are more likely than others to produce fundamentalism and why those movements differ in their willingness to use violence to pursue their goals. Rejecting the idea that fundamentalists are suffering from some kind of abnormal psychology, Bruce claims that fundamentalism is a rational response of traditionally religious people to social, political and economic changes that downgrade the role of religion in public life. Despite its importance as a symptom of rapid social change, he concludes that fundamentalism does not pose a serious challenge or sustainable alternative to the secular and liberal democracy of most Western societies. Its force is weakened by its own internal contradictions and blunted by the power of the nation state.
Table of Contents
- Chapter One: The Nature of The Beast
- Chapter Two: Modernity: The Great Satan
- Chapter Three: Islamic Fundamentalism
- Chapter Four: Fundamentalism in the USA
- Chapter Five: Fundamentalism: Causes and Consequences
“Steve Bruce writes always with great lucidity from a clearly stated point of view. His essay on fundamentalism is no exception. It is well informed and easily accessible and it deserves to be taken seriously even by people who disagree with his view.”
—Martin Riesebrodt, University of Chicago
“Steve Bruce writes with a forthright clarity outlining the essential issues and background of Fundamentalism and Modernity in accessible form. He is indifferent to fashionable views and writes as he finds by reference to evidence. He is an international authority and his book a major addition to the literature.”
— David Martin, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics
“Fundamentalism is informative, vigorously argued and thought-provoking, and it presents a powerful sociological perspective on a controversial phenomenon. Focusing on a comparison between Christianity and Islam, it offers a wealth of details underpinned by subtle but clear theorizing. It is intellectually challenging yet easy to follow.”
— Alan Aldridge, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham