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Religion, Religious Tradition, and Nationalism: Jewish Revival in Poland and “Religious Heritage” in Québec

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This article uses and develops Martin Riesebrodt's distinction between religion and religious tradition to shed light on the making of various articulations of religious identities and political projects. Based on extensive research on the Polish and Québécois cases, I show how social and state actors in these societies reactivate past religious traditions to respond to current social transformations and articulate societal projects and advance political agendas in the present. In both cases, religion and religious tradition are juxtaposed to articulate new national identities or fortify older ones, and to respond more specifically to the challenges posed by “pluralism.” I suggest that sociologists who work at the intersection of religion and politics can contribute to our understanding of the various registers through which religion, religious action, and religious tradition are rendered meaningful to social actors, used for different goals (religious and not) and transformed in the process.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, University of Michigan

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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