Dumont on Religion: Difference, Comparison, Transgression

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2016-09-15
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Among French structuralists, Louis Dumont is sometimes regarded as an inferior to the far more celebrated Claude L'vi-Strauss. But, in truth Dumont has far more to contribute to the study of religion than his more fashionable contemporary. notably, his work has informed the specialized field of study in the religions of India, but also more recently the comparative study of modern ideology of the West with the world views of traditional societies. Unlike the recent volumes published on Dumonts work aimed at social anthropologists, this volume identifies kernel ideas of particular interest for the study of religion. Thus, while acknowledging Dumonts technical contribution to kinship studies or his part in the debates over the intricacies of structural theory or his apparent attempts to link idealism and empiricism, this volume focuses on subjects of particular interest to students and scholars of religion: concepts such as sacred and profane, pure and impure, transcendence, values, ideology, hierarchy, and cross cultural comparison. Attention will also be paid to the ethical implications of Dumonts ideas, especially about his preference for hierarchy in social arrangements.

Author Biography

Ivan Strenski is Holstein Family and Community Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Riverside. His most recent books include Theology and the First Theory of Sacrifice, Thinking about Religion: An Historical Introduction to Theories of Religion, and The New Durkheim: Essays on Philosophy, Religious Identity and the Politics of Knowledge.

Table of Contents

What Can we Learn from Louis Dumont?p. 1
A Contrarian's Most Contrarian Notion: Dumont on Hierarchyp. 21
Our Individualism and Its Religious Originsp. 51
The Comparative Risks of Comparison: On Not "Remaining Caged within Our Own Frame of Reference"p. 89
Conclusion: Dumont's Morality and Social Cosmologyp. 119
Referencesp. 137
Indexp. 143
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