Classical Social Theory and the Understanding of Contemporary Religious Terrorism

  • James Dingley


Classical social theory tends largely to be studied out of historical interest these days and is frequently not regarded as relevant to modern world problems. However, it is the contention here that it is the most relevant perspective from which to understand contemporary religious fundamentalism and conflicts, especially Islamic. Modern concerns over religion directly mirror the core concerns behind the rise of classical social theory as modern industrial society and scientific culture challenged and then displaced the then dominant Christian religious understanding and interpretation of the world in the nineteenth century. The West’s clash with Islam, whilst exaggerated, does reflect the same kind of confrontation that the classical social theorists witnessed in their heyday; hence, they can be studied to great benefit as windows into the modern world. Lessons can be learnt of direct benefit to all, not just in sociology and anthropology, who seek to cope with contemporary problems of religious conflict.


Religion Conflict Classical social theory 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Dingley
    • 1
  1. 1.Queen’s University BelfastBelfastUK

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