This March, Routledge Press will release “Religion in the Primary School: Ethos, Diversity, Citizenship” by Peter Hemming (Cardiff University, UK). The publisher’s description follows:
Religion and its relationship to schooling is an issue that has become more and more topical in recent years. In many countries, developments such as the diversification of state school sectors, concerns about social cohesion between ethnic and religious groups, and debates about national identity and values have raised old and new questions about the role of religion in education. Whilst the significance of this issue has been reflected in renewed interest from the academic community, much of this work has continued to be based around theoretical or pedagogical debates and stances, rather than evidence-based empirical research.
This book aims to address this gap by exploring the social and political role of religion in the context of the primary school. Drawing on original ethnographic research with a child-centred orientation, comparisons are drawn between Community and Roman Catholic primary schools situated within a multi-faith urban area in the UK. In doing so, the study explores a number of ways in which religion has the potential to contribute to everyday school life, including through school ethos and values, inter-pupil relations, community cohesion and social identity and difference. At the centre of the analysis are two key sociological debates about the significance of religion in late modern societies. The first is concerned with the place of religion in public life and the influence of secularisation and post-secularism on the relationship between religion and schooling. The second relates to the increasingly multi-faith nature of many national populations and the implications for religious citizenship in educational settings.
Religion in the Primary School will be a useful resource for academics, researchers and students as a key addition to existing knowledge in the disciplines of education, sociology and human geography. It will also be of value to both policy-makers and educationalists interested in the role of religion in schools and the implications for the wider community and society in a range of national contexts.
In April, Ashgate Publishing will release “Muslim Families, Politics and the Law: A Legal Industry in Multicultural Britain” by Ralph Grillo (University of Sussex, UK). The publisher’s description follows:
Contemporary European societies are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, certainly in terms of the diversity which has stemmed from the immigration of workers and refugees and their settlement. Currently, however, there is widespread, often acrimonious, debate about ‘other’ cultural and religious beliefs and practices and limits to their accommodation.
This book focuses principally on Muslim families and on the way in which gender relations and associated questions of (women’s) agency, consent and autonomy, have become the focus of political and social commentary, with followers of the religion under constant public scrutiny and criticism. Practices concerning marriage and divorce are especially controversial and the book includes a detailed overview of the public debate about the application of Islamic legal and ethical norms (Shari’a) in family law matters, and the associated role of Shari’a councils, in a British context.
In short, Islam generally and the Muslim family in particular have become highly politicized sites of contestation, and the book considers how and why and with what implications for British multiculturalism, past, present and future. The study will be of great interest to international scholars and academics researching the governance of diversity and the accommodation of other faiths including Islam.
This April, Hurst Publishers will release “The Apostates: When Muslims Leave Islam” by Simon Cottee (Kent University). The publisher’s description follows:
The Apostates is the first major study of apostasy from Islam in the western secular context. Drawing on life-history interviews with ex-Muslims from the UK and Canada, Simon Cottee explores how and with what consequences Muslims leave Islam and become irreligious.
Apostasy in Islam is a deeply controversial issue and features prominently in current debates over the expansion of Islam in the West and what this means. Yet it remains poorly understood, in large part because it has become so politicised — with protagonists on either side of the debate selectively invoking Islamic theology to make claims about the ‘true’ face of Islam. The Apostates charts a different course by examining the social situation and experiences of ex- Muslims. Cottee suggests that Islamic apostasy in the West is best understood not as a legal or political problem, but as a moral issue within Muslim families and communities. Outside of Muslim-majority societies, ex-Muslims are not living in fear for their lives. But they face and must manage the stigma attached to leaving the faith from among their own families and the wider Muslim community.
In April, Palgrave Macmillan will release “The European Union and the Catholic Church: Political Theology of European Integration” by Petr Kratochvíl (Institute of International Relations, Prague, Czech Republic) and Tomáš Doležal (Institute of International Relations, Prague, Czech Republic). The publisher’s description follows:
The European Union and the Catholic Church is the first comprehensive monograph to explore the political relations between the Catholic Church and the European Union. Building on the insights of political theology, it connects the analysis of the political interactions of these two institutions with their broader normative outlooks and the analysis of their ideational orders. This study contains both a concise overview of the historical evolution of the relationship and analysis of the politico-theological strategies the two institutions employ in their interactions, which range from mutual legitimisation to direct normative conflict. This book will be of significant interest to those who wish to familiarise themselves with the Catholic approach to the integration process and to those who are interested in the interactions of the European Union with religious organisations in general, and the Catholic Church in particular.
This March, Edinburgh University Press will release “Muslims in Ireland: Past and Present” by Oliver Scharbrodt (University of Chester), Tuula Sakaranaho (University of Helsinki), Adil Hussain Khan (Loyola University), Yafa Shanneik (University College Cork) and Vivian Ibrahim (University of Mississippi). The publisher’s description follows:
Since 9/11, the interest in Muslims in Europe has increased significantly. There has been much public debate and academic research focused on Muslims living in larger Western European countries like Britain, France or Germany, but little is known of Muslims in Ireland. This book fills this gap, providing a complete study of this unexplored Muslim presence, from the arrival of the first Muslim resident in Cork, in the southwest of Ireland, in 1784 until mass immigration to the Republic of Ireland during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ period from the mid-1990s onwards. Muslim immigration and settlement in Ireland is very recent, and poses new challenges to a society that has perceived itself as religiously and culturally homogeneous. Ireland is also one of the least secular societies in Europe, providing a different context for Muslims seeking recognition by state and society. This book is essential for anyone who wants to understand the diversity of Muslim presences across Europe.
This April, Wiley Publishing will release “The Secular State Under Siege: Religion and Politics in Europe and America” by Christian Joppke (University of Bern). The publisher’s description follows:
Throughout human history, religion and politics have entertained the most intimate of connections as systems of authority regulating individuals and society. While the two have come apart through the process of secularization, secularism is challenged today by the return of public religion. This cogent analysis unravels the nature of the connection, disconnection, and attempted reconnection between religion and politics in the West.
In a comparison of Western Europe and North America, Christianity and Islam, Joppke advances far-reaching theoretical, historical, and comparative-political arguments. With respect to theory, it is argued that only a “substantive” concept of religion, as pertaining to the existence of supra-human powers, opens up the possibility of a historical-comparative perspective on religion. At the level of history, secularization is shown to be the distinct outcome of Latin Christianity itself. And at the level of comparative politics, the Christian Right in America which has attacked the “wall of separation” between religion and state and Islam in Europe with the controversial insistence on sharia law and other “illiberal” claims from some quarters are taken to be counterpart incarnations of public religion and challenges to the secular state.
This clearly argued, sweeping book will provide an invaluable framework for approaching an array of critical issues at the intersection of religion, law and politics for advanced students and researchers across the social sciences and legal studies, as well as for the interested public.
In April, Cambridge University Press will release “Magna Carta, Religion and the Rule of Law” edited by Robin Griffith-Jones (Temple Church and King’s College London) and Mark Hill QC (Cardiff University). The publisher’s description follows:
Archbishop Stephen Langton hoped with Magna Carta to realise an Old Testament, covenantal kingship in England. At the Charter’s 800th anniversary, distinguished jurists, theologians and historians from five faith-traditions and three continents ask how Magna Carta’s biblical foundations have mattered and still matter now. A Lord Chief Justice, a Chief Rabbi, a Grand Mufti of Egypt, specialists in eight centuries of law, scholars and advocates committed to the rule of law and to the place of religion in public life all come together in this testimony to Magna Carta’s iconic power. We follow the Charter’s story in the religious life of the UK, America and now Continental Europe, and reflections on religio-legal traditions far from the Common Law enrich the story. Magna Carta, Religion and the Rule of Law invites all religions to ask what contribution they themselves should make to the rule of law in today’s secular, democratic polities.
In April, Brill will release “Studying Religions with the Iron Curtain Closed and Opened: The Academic Study of Religion in Eastern Europe” edited by Tomáš Bubík (University of Pardubice) and Henryk Hoffmann (Jagiellonian University in Kraków). The publisher’s description follows:
Studying Religions with the Iron Curtain Closed and Open. The Academic Study of Religion in Eastern Europe offers an account of the research focused on the origins, development and the current situation of the Study of Religions in the 20th century in the countries of the region such as Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine and Russia.
Special attention is devoted to the ideological influences determining the interpretation of religion, especially connected with the rise of Marxist-Leninist criticism of religion.
In December, Cambridge University Press released “Resurrecting Democracy: Faith, Citizenship, and the Politics of a Common Life” by Luke Bretherton (Duke University). The publisher’s description follows:
Through a case study of community organizing in the global city of London and an examination of the legacy of Saul Alinsky around the world, this book develops a constructive account of the relationship between religious diversity, democratic citizenship, and economic and political accountability. Based on an in-depth, ethnographic study, Part I identifies and depicts a consociational, populist and post-secular vision of democratic citizenship by reflecting on the different strands of thought and practice that feed into and help constitute community organizing. Particular attention is given to how organizing mediates the relationship between Christianity, Islam and Judaism and those without a religious commitment in order to forge a common life. Part II then unpacks the implications of this vision for how we respond to the spheres in which citizenship is enacted, namely, civil society, the sovereign nation-state, and the globalized economy. Overall, the book outlines a way of re-imagining democracy, developing innovative public policy, and addressing poverty in the contemporary context.
In March, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Hierarchy and Pluralism: Living Religious Difference in Catholic Poland” by Agnieszka Pasieka (Polish Academy of Sciences). The publisher’s description follows:
What is the place of pluralism in the context of a dominant religion? How does the perception of religion as “tradition” and “culture” affect pluralism? Why do minorities’ demands for recognition often transform into exclusion? Through her ethnography of a multi-religious community in rural Poland, Agnieszka Pasieka examines how we can better understand the nature of pluralism by examining how it is lived and experienced within a homogenous society. Painting a vivid picture of everyday interreligious sociability, Pasieka reveals the constant balance of rural inhabitants’ between ideas of sameness and difference, and the manifold ways in which religion informs local cooperation, relations among neighbors and friends, and common attempts to “make pluralism”. The book traces these developments through several decades of the community’s history, unveiling and exposing the paradoxes inscribed into the practice and discourse of pluralism and complex processes of negotiation of social identities.