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Introduction: History, Time, Meaning, And Memory In The Sociology Of Religion

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Chapter Summary

In the nineteenth century French social philosopher Comte claimed that "religion is at the root of social order". By the late nineteenth century Comte's fellow Frenchman émile Durkheim categorized religion as a "social fact" to offset the German Karl Marx's oft misquoted phrase describing religion as an opiate of the masses. The decline of significance for religion in sociology by the latter half of the twentieth century mirrored the changing social location of religion; the increase in world fundamentalisms, religious movements, private spiritualities and other indicators in the millennial age have brought a renaissance to this longstanding subdiscipline. Time, place and circumstance are the analytical framework for thought in history as they are instrumental to the understanding of religious movements, religiosity, the persistence of religion, and so on.

Keywords: Comte; Karl Marx; religion; sociology



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