This January, Ashgate Publishing published Religion in the Neoliberal Age: Political Economy and Modes of Governance edited by François Gauthier (University of Fribourg) and Tuomas Martikainen (University of Helsinki). The publisher’s description follows.
This book, together with a complementary volume ‘Religion in Consumer Society’, focuses on religion, neoliberalism and consumer society; offering an overview of an emerging field of research in the study of contemporary religion. Claiming that we are entering a new phase of state-religion relations, the editors examine how this is historically anchored in modernity but affected by neoliberalization and globalization of society and social life. Seemingly distant developments, such as marketization and commoditization of religion as well as legalization and securitization of social conflicts, are transforming historical expressions of ‘religion’ and ‘religiosity’ yet these changes are seldom if ever understood as forming a coherent, structured and systemic ensemble.
‘Religion in the Neoliberal Age’ includes an extensive introduction framing the research area, and linking it to existing scholarship, before looking at four key issues: 1. How changes in state structures have empowered new modes of religious activity in welfare production and the delivery of a range of state services; 2. How are religion-state relations transforming under the pressures of globalization and neoliberalism; 3. How historical churches and their administrations are undergoing change due to structural changes in society, and what new forms of religious body are emerging; 4. How have law and security become new areas for solving religious conflicts. Outlining changes in both the political-institutional and cultural spheres, the contributors offer an international overview of developments in different countries and state of the art representation of religion in the new global political economy.