Religion and Class

Part of the New Approaches to Religion and Power book series (NARP)


Discourse on class has been doubly repressed in the United States for many decades. In the first place, there is a widespread taboo on acknowledging the existence, let alone social significance, of class differences and conflicts. Second, when “class” is sometimes used analytically, its meaning is treated as known, singular, and universally agreed. Yet the history of class analyses over the millennia shows the profound social insights that such analyses have often achieved and their frequently far-reaching effects on politics, economics, and culture. The basic definitions of “class” have not been singular, but rather usually multiple, different, and contested, sometimes with great intensity. Indeed, the particular concept of class stressed in this chapter differs from those favored in several other chapters in this volume. The richness and diversity of class analyses applied to contemporary society and religion contradict today’s mainstream aversion to and superficial grasp of class analysis.


Productive Laborer Real Wage Class Structure Religious Community Corporate Board 
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© Joerg Rieger 2013

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