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Globalization, Religion and

Peter Beyer

Subject Religion
Sociology » Sociology of Religion

Key-Topics globalization

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Globalization describes the historical process by which all the world's people come to live in a single social unit. Religion constitutes an important dimension of globalization through its worldwide institutional presence, its importance in structuring individual and collective cultural difference, and as an effective resource for local and global social mobilization for various goals. Religion is a highly contested, occasionally powerful, and often conflictual domain of some consequence in the global social system. Various scholars in the social sciences started using the neologism “globalization” in the 1980s. The first sociologist to do so consistently was Roland Robertson. Since that time, it has become a highly charged and popular word with diverse meanings. The most widespread of these refers primarily to recent or modern developments in global capitalism, through which this world economic system comes to have a determinative influence in all people's lives, for good or for ill. Other, often connected, meanings emphasize the international political system of states, the recent intensification of the worldwide network of communications and mass media, or other transnational structures and phenomena ranging from non-governmental organizations and crime syndicates, to global migration, tourism, and sport. Some observers, in subsuming the latter, argue for the existence of a ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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