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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Beginning with a focus on ‘secularism’ in the mid-1990s and extending to the study of ‘secularity,’ ‘atheism,’ and ‘irreligious’ and ‘non-religious’ cultures from the mid-2000s onwards, the study of religion’s various ‘others’ is receiving increasing attention from scholars of religion. This chapter untangles the key topic strands in this broad area: non-religious populations; ‘religious-like’ phenomena such as non-religious lifecycle ceremonies and worldviews; dialectics between the religious and non-religious or secular; and secularist regimes of power. It outlines the theoretical concerns of these projects: rival accounts of secularism/s (e.g. postcolonial critiques, realist ‘multiple’ approaches); new ways of investigating and challenging secularization theory; and ‘egalitarian’ approaches to religion which challenge the idea that religion is unique—a sole example of a type. Each of these overlapping areas of research are young fields, and conceptual resources and distinctions are therefore works in progress and require careful negotiation.

Keywords: areligion, atheism, irreligion, nones, non-religion, post-secular, the secular, secularism

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