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The pains and pleasures of opium, religion, and modernity: A new view of Robert Owen

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Chapter Summary

The subject matter addressed in this chapter is the apparently contradictory views on religion held by the early British socialist Robert Owen: condemning all of religion while yet proposing a new religion at the same time. A couple of remarks on Robert Owens' life, also indicating the religious surroundings of his time, are made and the difficulties of putting Owen into one of those neat categories at hand in the Sociology of Religion are named. Lenin's version of the metaphor and its context is presented, to be compared with Marx's, which is then structured according to its units of meaning. Then, the chapter shows how this metaphorical concept can be applied to Owen, including an excursus on the sigh as a crystallization of ambivalence. Finally, it is asked in which ways the Ambivalence of metaphorical opium offers insights concerning the contemporary religious situation.

Keywords: Lenin; Marx's opium metaphor; religion; Robert Owen; sociology



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