Cultural analysis of religious change and movements

George Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In this article I review a cultural perspective on religion and suggest that cultural analysis resolves current debates over the nature of religion as either collectivist or individualist. I use one type of cultural analysis, institutionalism, to present an interpretive overview of religious change and movements in historical contexts of global instrumental rationality, in particular the expansion of state authority. The usefulness of this approach is revealed in interpreting Protestantism in the United States, Islamic fundamentalism, and movements and trends in global Roman Catholicism. While not reflecting precisely the views of the authors of this collection, this article introduces the studies of the recent restructuring of religion in the United States (Robert Wuthnow), Islamic fundamentalisms in Iran and Syria (Mansoor Moaddel), and global Roman Catholicism (José Casanova).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-302
Number of pages18
JournalSociological Inquiry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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