Good news from the grand narrative


First, on religion: Both neo-Marxist and neo-Weberian grand narratives tend to downplay or even ignore religion as they reduce it to its political and organizational features and neglect its ideational side. Bellah restores religion to its former glory, not by reminding the reader of its Durkheimian or Weberian features, but by locating it in a wider framework of an endless quest for meaning and alternative perceptions of reality. In this context, religion becomes the key to understanding social evolution (at least up to modernity), since religion and its concomitant practices are the means to firmly establish increasingly complex social power arrangements and structures that otherwise would be unattainable. For Bellah, religion is a generalized means of social action: as religion derives from the relaxed field of play (not “functional” itself), it remains, even in its most institutional forms, a bridge between necessity and freedom, between actual and potential forms of social life, and thus a privileged locus for social criticism and new visions of social organization and justice.

more from Manussos Marangudakis at Immanent Frame here.