Religious Studies on Neoliberalism

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 19531

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Religious Studies, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208, USA
Interests: political theology; neoliberalism; post-structuralist philosophy; globalization; decolonialism
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We invite you to submit papers on the topic of “Religious Studies and Neoliberalism.” “Neoliberalism” is a tendentious term that has been bandied about now for at least two decades and has come to mean different things to different thinkers. Initially framed by scholars as primarily an economic theory focused on “free market fundamentalism,” it has through the work of Slavoj Zizek (First as Tragedy, Then as Farce), Wendy Brown (Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution), Nancy Fraser (The Old is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born), Carl Raschke, (Neoliberalism and Political Theology) Quinn Slobodian, (Globalists) and Michael Sandel (The Tyranny of Merit) inter alia come to be seen as a hegemonic thought structure that legitimates more “progressive” paradigms of transnational “multiculturalist” capitalism while enforcing increasingly rigid class distinctions based on culture and education. In other words, “neoliberalism” in many respect has become simply a trope for the tacit value system legitimating the new globalized social, political, and economic system. This Special Issue invites contributors to reflect on how present day strands of religious belief moral sensibilities, and spiritual practices are both conditioned by and are reactive toward the neoliberal order of things.  We are especially interested in papers that explore the relationship between religions and neoliberalism in an international context as well as in the global south.  Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to, the relationship between neoliberalism and colonialism (or postcolonialism/decoloniality), universities, the field of religious studies, organized religion, indigenous religions, digital religions and communication systems, etc. Finally, we are interested in “populist” rightwing, or radical leftwing, religious expressions as manifestations of resistance to as well as pushback against neoliberalism. The role of “religion” in what might be considered a neoliberal utopian blueprint of the World Economic Forum, known as “The Great Reset” is an interesting related topic as well.

Prof. Dr. Carl Raschke
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • neoliberalism
  • colonialism
  • decoloniality
  • capitalism
  • religious studies
  • cosmopolitanism
  • meritocracy
  • globalism
  • populism
  • indigenous religions
  • Great Reset
  • multiculturalism

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 388 KiB  
Article
Neoliberalism and Religion in Latin America
by Javier Aguirre
Religions 2022, 13(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010003 - 21 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2946
Abstract
The term “neoliberalism” has variable and broad meanings. It has even been suggested that we should dispense with the term altogether. However, in this text, I defend that we can find a very powerful concept of neoliberalism in the works of Dardot-Laval, and [...] Read more.
The term “neoliberalism” has variable and broad meanings. It has even been suggested that we should dispense with the term altogether. However, in this text, I defend that we can find a very powerful concept of neoliberalism in the works of Dardot-Laval, and Brown. These thinkers show us that neoliberalism needs to be conceived as a rationality that produces a specific kind of human subjectivity, namely, the neoliberal Homo Oeconomicus or the Homo Neoliberalis. Such a concept is, in addition, crucial to understand the most recent and visible changes in Latin American religiosity, that is, the so-called “Latin American Protestant Turn”. This turn, as has been noted, should be more precisely called the “Latin American Pentecostal Turn”. Based on empirical studies that describe the main elements of this turn, I describe what seems to be the principal traits of the religiosity of the Latin American Homo Neoliberalis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Studies on Neoliberalism)
15 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
Amway as Neoliberal Religious Tradition
by Michael Laminack
Religions 2021, 12(9), 703; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090703 - 30 Aug 2021
Viewed by 4410
Abstract
Why do people desire their own continued oppression under neoliberalism? This essay seeks an answer to this confounding question through analysis of the Amway organization, an American multi-level-marketing (MLM) company that rose to a multi-billion dollar value in the 1980s and 90s. My [...] Read more.
Why do people desire their own continued oppression under neoliberalism? This essay seeks an answer to this confounding question through analysis of the Amway organization, an American multi-level-marketing (MLM) company that rose to a multi-billion dollar value in the 1980s and 90s. My argument is that Amway serves as a prime case study for the relation between neoliberalism and religious practices––people desire their continued oppression under neoliberalism in part because neoliberalism bears meaning at the level of culture and religion. What sets Amway apart from other MLMs, and makes Amway a prime case study for neoliberalism and religious practices, is its amalgamation of neoliberal ideology with ideas and trends from American evangelicalism, to the extent that it serves as a kind of neoliberal religious tradition. As this amalgamation demonstrates, people may defend neoliberalism with a similar fervor as defending cultural or religious traditions. The conclusion explores the possibility of a decolonial American evangelicalism, which would seek options for broadening the horizons of American evangelicalism beyond the relationship to neoliberalism and the possibility of a critical theology robust enough to thoughtfully critique neoliberalism. In pursuit of this thesis, the essay utilizes a theoretical framework guided by the contributions of scholars including Wendy Brown, Walter Benjamin, Olivier Roy, Walter Mignolo, and Carl Raschke in order to analyze Amway through the lens of contemporary political theories of neoliberalism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Studies on Neoliberalism)
25 pages, 324 KiB  
Article
Neoliberalism and eurochristianity
by Roger Kurt Green
Religions 2021, 12(9), 688; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090688 - 27 Aug 2021
Viewed by 3673
Abstract
This article argues for an articulation of the “eurochristian worldview” in order to situate neoliberalism as an expression of eurochristian colonialism. It uses an interdisciplinary focus on discourse related to neoliberalism and religion to evidence the necessity for analyses based on worldview. Following [...] Read more.
This article argues for an articulation of the “eurochristian worldview” in order to situate neoliberalism as an expression of eurochristian colonialism. It uses an interdisciplinary focus on discourse related to neoliberalism and religion to evidence the necessity for analyses based on worldview. Following the thinking of Indigenous authors and cognitive theory to articulate key distinctions between worldview, culture, and religion, it challenges conventional secularization narratives for being, like neoliberalism, an expression of eurochristian worldview and ongoing colonization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Studies on Neoliberalism)
22 pages, 309 KiB  
Article
Neoliberalism and Political Theologies of the Post-Secular: Historical, Political, and Methodological Considerations in a 20th and 21st Century Discourse
by Kieryn E. Wurts
Religions 2021, 12(9), 680; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090680 - 26 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2843
Abstract
Carl Schmitt’s controversial 1922 Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty initiated a long-standing, lively, and oft misunderstood discourse at the intersections of religious studies, theology, and political theory. Political theology as a discourse has seen something of a revival in [...] Read more.
Carl Schmitt’s controversial 1922 Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty initiated a long-standing, lively, and oft misunderstood discourse at the intersections of religious studies, theology, and political theory. Political theology as a discourse has seen something of a revival in recent decades, which has raised genuine problems of interpretation. These include questions of what is at stake in political theology, how political theology can be applied to economic discourses, and how it can be understood in relation to secularity and post-secularity. This study takes Giorgio Agamben’s The Kingdom and Glory as a conceptual bridge that helps to situate contemporary political theologies of neoliberalism historically and theoretically. A survey of four recent political theologies of neoliberalism yields a methodological reflection on the limits and potential of political theology as a discourse. A distinction is made between descriptive-genealogical political theologies and normative-prescriptive political theologies. The former is privileged in its philosophical potential, insofar as it reveals both the contingency and genuine variety of normative-prescriptive political theologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Studies on Neoliberalism)
9 pages, 215 KiB  
Article
Neoliberalism, Postsecularism, and the End of Religion
by Clayton Crockett
Religions 2021, 12(8), 631; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12080631 - 11 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3823
Abstract
This article examines the situation of religion in the context of contemporary neoliberalism. I argue that neoliberalism is a symptom of a fatal crisis in modern liberalism, which is brought about by geophysical planetary limits to growth. The concept of religion is a [...] Read more.
This article examines the situation of religion in the context of contemporary neoliberalism. I argue that neoliberalism is a symptom of a fatal crisis in modern liberalism, which is brought about by geophysical planetary limits to growth. The concept of religion is a modern one that emerges from a secularized Christianity, and as liberalism declines, religion as a category is also declining. This phenomenon can be analyzed in terms of what I call postsecularism. Postsecularism indicates the breakdown of the modern divide within liberalism that assigns religion to a private sphere of belief that is separate from political-civil reason. Postsecularism attends to the ways that what we call religion exceed their modern frames and become deprivatized and politicized. In this process, spiritual-political forces are liberated from the modern framework of religion. Recent movements called New Materialism and New Animism can be seen as attempts to conceptualize this development. Finally, as an example, I turn to a recent book by Elizabeth Povinelli called Geontopower to show how religion fails to capture a profound entanglement of spiritual and political phenomena in neoliberalism, or what she calls late liberalism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Studies on Neoliberalism)
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