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“Public Religions” or religions in the Public Sphere? A criticism on Pierre Bourdieu concept of religious field

Abstract

This article proposes a critical analysis of Pierre Bourdieu’s contribution to the field of religious studies. First, we will demonstrate how the concept of field enabled a new understanding of the classical notion of religion. Subsequently, taking contemporary secularism as a reference, we will examine the analytical inaccuracy of this concept to give a full comprehension of the presence of religions in the public scene. Finally, taking into account some contributions of the French pragmatic theory for a definition of a public arena, this article proposes a new approach to the classical problem of religion and power relations. We assume that what religions do in the public sphere transform the collective understanding of what counts as religion.

Keywords
secularism; separation of spheres; public religions; religious sphere

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