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A Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion explains the key ideas and methods in the study of religion and demonstrates how they can be used. The aim is to provide students with a tool-kit of critical concepts for studying religious belief and behaviour. Throughout the discussion all ideas and methods are illustrated with clear case material. The critical concepts draw on sociological, cultural and anthropological thinking and include classification and essentialism; naturalization and mystification; legitimation and social reproduction; habitus and normalization; and repression and domination. The book presents students with a very productive and potentially radical way of studying religion, both its past and its present.