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Research Field 'Globalisation'

Research field 4 dealt with religion and its reflection in the age of colonialism and globalisation, i. e. the modern and contemporary religious situation as well as the ways this situation is observed and discussed. This  included topics like fundamentalisms, religions in the 'global village', processes of secularisation, (re-)sacralisation and pluralisation, and diffusion as well as politics and religion.

Religion & Politics

During the first three years of the Käte-Hamburger Kolleg, the relationship between religion and politics has been in the focus of interest within this research field. Special thought has been given to the question how the Western military triumph during the imperial age impacted the re-configuration of political and religious forms of community formation, authority and legitimisation.

Secularisation & Spiritualisation

An additional focal point consisted in engagement with discourses on secularisation, including the criticism of the secularisation thesis, from a perspective - developed at the KHK - which identifies religious contact as formative condition of secularisation processes. In this context, we have also taken note of the reverse processes of spiritualisation and interiorization of religion.

Building on this foundation, our following research advanced these topics by including a broader range of phenomena going beyond political or religious self-assertion. The group's temporal focus, which used to be on the century between 1850 and 1950, was being extended to cover more recent topics and phenomena as well as the early modern period.

Migration, Mission & the Emergence of a Global Religious Field

A major goal of the ongoing endeavours was to test or empirically substantiate Peter Beyer's hypothesis of the emergence of a global religious field in modern times, in other words, of the social system of religion as an integral expression of a developing global society. In tackling this question, we looked for convergence phenomena, being of the opinion that we can meaningfully speak of a global religious field only in the case that we can at least identify shared patterns of communicating about religion.

Working within a heuristic framework that distinguishes between conditions, modes and results of religious contact and convergence, we focussed on migration and mission as socio-political conditions and inquired into the modes of religious contact they engender, as well as the results (in terms of convergence or divergence) they produce.

 

Further Reading

  • Bentlage, Björn, Marion Eggert, Hans Martin Krämer, Stefan Reichmuth, eds. "Religious Dynamics under the Impact of Imperialism and Globalisation: A Sourcebook." Unpublished manuscript. (available on request)
  • Eggert, Marion, and Lucian Hölscher, eds. Religion and Secularity. Transformations and Transfers of Religious Discourses in Europe and Asia. Dynamics in the History of Religions 5. Leiden: Brill.