Marx, Critical Theory, and Religion
A Critique of Rational Choice
The Sociology of Religion has had several frameworks guiding its analysis including functionalism, interpretive sociology, phenomenology, symbolic interactionism and now rational choice theory. Marxism has tended to ignore religion assuming it is something that would eventually disappear even though it retained theological elements. This collection of essays brings together a group of scholars who use frameworks provided by Marx and Critical Theory in analyzing religion. Its goal is to establish a critical theory of religion within the sociology of religion as an alternative to rational choice. In doing so, it engages in a critique of the positivism, uncritical praise of the market (neoconservativism) and one dimensional conception of rationality of the rational choice theory of religion.
Warren S. Goldstein (Ph.D. New School for Social Research) is Executive Director of the Center for Critical Research on Religion (www.criticaltheoryofreligion.org) and a Visiting Fellow (2009-2010) of The Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University. He has published articles in several journals including Critical Sociology, Sociology of Religion, Implicit Religion, and Humanity and Society. His research revolves around developing a critical sociology of religion (with a dialectical theory of secularization as its central focus) as a "new paradigm" in the sociology of religion.