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This chapter examines the nature of religion and fundamentalism and their relationship to politics. It first defines religion before discussing the nature and extent of religiosity worldwide. It then considers whether religion can be regarded as an ideology and goes on to assess its relationship with secular ideologies. It also explores arguments about the role of religion in politics, focusing on the secular state and ‘religious talk’ in the political sphere. Finally, it reviews the concept of fundamentalism as a form of political belief, the nature of religious fundamentalism, and the impact of movements based on religious fundamentalism in the modern world. These issues are illustrated with case studies relating to Christian (Protestant) fundamentalism, religious identity in the United Kingdom, the relationship between politics and religion in the United Kingdom vs. the United States, whether the faithful have a religious duty to get involved in politics, and Islamism.

Chapter

This chapter examines a range of contemporary ideologies which challenge the traditional ones identified in ~Chapter 5. They differ from traditional ideologies in a number of ways. They are, first, less optimistic about the ability of ideologies to construct an overarching explanation of the world, not surprisingly since they emerged in the aftermath of the catastrophic impact of some traditional ideologies. They also respect difference and variety. This is a product of social and economic change which has eroded the ‘Fordist’ economy, brought into being a number of powerful identity groups based on gender, culture, and ethnicity, and raised question marks over the environmental sustainability of current industrial practices. Two modern political currents – postmodernism and populism – are considered and it is questioned whether they can be properly described as ideologies. The chapter then considers a number of contemporary ideologies such as feminism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, and religious fundamentalism.

Chapter

This chapter considers a range of traditional and contemporary ideologies. Traditional ideologies are associated with the Enlightenment and have had a significant impact on the development of world politics in the last 200 years. The claims of the traditional ideologies are challenged by more contemporary ideologies; the latter should therefore be seen in the context of growing scepticism about the utility of Enlightenment ideologies. The chapter first describes the general characteristics of an ideology before discussing traditional ideologies such as liberalism, socialism, conservatism, and fascism. It also examines contemporary ideologies, namely: feminism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, and religious fundamentalism. The chapter argues that contemporary ideologies represent a challenge to the state, as seen in the greater emphasis on the supranational dimension observed, in particular, in multiculturalism, environmentalism, and religious fundamentalism.

Chapter

Paul Wetherly

This chapter examines conceptions of human nature and ideological responses to globalization. It begins with a discussion of the two reasons for the persistence of ideological dispute regarding human nature. First, ideologies differ in their views of human nature, and these differences continue to generate competing visions of the good society consistent with this nature. Second, disagreement about the good society might be built into human nature. The chapter considers the different ideological conceptions of human nature and the implications of globalization for existing political ideologies such as liberalism, conservatism, feminism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, and religious fundamentalism. It also explores a range of arguments that suggest the possibility of resolving or ending ideological debate, asking whether it is possible to show the failure of a particular ideology, whether there can be a non-ideological way of doing politics, or whether there could there be an end of ideology.