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Lecture 21:  Casanova’s "Private and Public Religions"

May 17, 1999



Paradox:   "while religion in the modern world continues to become ever more privatized, one is also witnessing simultaneously what appears to be a process of ‘deprivatization’ of religion."

Four public/private distinctions:
  1. liberal economistic model;
  2. republican-virtue or classical approach;
  3. social-historical, anthropological approach; and,
  4. economic historians and feminists’ perspective
Three critiques public/private distinctions:
  1. "classical/republican critiques";
  2. republican virtue critiques; and,
  3. feminist critiques.
Casanova’s thesis:

Against those evolutionary theories which prefer to interpret what I call the "deprivatization" of modern religion as antimodern fundamentalist reactions to inevitable processes of modern differentiation, I argue that at least some forms of "public religion" may also be understood as counterfactual normative critiques of dominant historical trends [e.g., environmental destruction], in many respects similar to the classical, republican, and feminist critiques (43).