Religions 2013, 4(1), 145-165; doi:10.3390/rel4010145

Globalization and Religion in Historical Perspective: A Paradoxical Relationship

Received: 20 December 2012; in revised form: 5 February 2013 / Accepted: 4 March 2013 / Published: 12 March 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Globalization)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Religion has long been a driving force in the process of globalization. This idea is not controversial or novel thinking, nor is it meant to be. However, the dominant reasoning on the subject of globalization, expressed by authors like Thomas Friedman, places economics at the center of analysis, skewing focus from the ideational factors at work in this process. By expanding the definition of globalization to accommodate ideational factors and cultural exchange, religion’s agency in the process can be enabled. Interestingly, the story of religion and globalization is in some ways the history of globalization, but it is riddled with paradoxes, including the agent-opponent paradox, the subject of this article. Religion and globalization have a co-constitutive relationship, but religious actors are both agents of globalization and principals in its backlash. While some actors might benefit from a mutually reinforcing relationship with globalization, others are marginalized in some way or another, so it is necessary to expose the links and wedges that allow for such a paradox. To that end, the concepts of globalization and religious actors must be defined, and the history of the agent-opponent paradox, from the Buddhists of the Silk Road to the Jubilee campaign of 2000, must be elucidated.
Keywords: globalization; religion; homogenization; anti-globalization backlash; religious actors
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MDPI and ACS Style

Herrington, L.M. Globalization and Religion in Historical Perspective: A Paradoxical Relationship. Religions 2013, 4, 145-165.

AMA Style

Herrington LM. Globalization and Religion in Historical Perspective: A Paradoxical Relationship. Religions. 2013; 4(1):145-165.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Herrington, Luke M. 2013. "Globalization and Religion in Historical Perspective: A Paradoxical Relationship." Religions 4, no. 1: 145-165.

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