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Religion and the Prospects for “Thin” Politics

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

AbstractReligion is a common source of “thick” morality and therefore a common obstacle to public policy consensus in pluralistic societies. But religion also adapts its thick moral commitments to prevailing social, cultural, and procedural dispositions. Engaging the model of “thick moralities and thin politics” proposed by Benjamin Gregg (2003), I explore the process by which religion adapts to the demands of normatively “thin” politics. To conceptualize this, I survey how American Christianity is negotiating aspects of postmodernism and how this negotiation offers one way to understand religion’s increased engagement with politics at the level of thin normativity. Thus, I would add to Gregg’s model by focusing on one example of a transition from “thick to thin”.

Affiliations: 1: George Mason University 218 5th Street, NE, Washington DC 20002, Email:


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