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Atheist Identities - Spaces and Social Contexts

by Lori G. Beaman Steven Tomlins

The essays in this book not only examine the variety of atheist expression and experience in the Western context, they also explore how local, national and international settings may contribute to the shaping of atheist identities. By addressing identity at these different levels, the book explores how individuals construct their own atheist--or non-religious--identity, how they construct community and how identity factors into atheist interaction at the social or institutional levels. The book offers an interdisciplinary comparative approach to the analysis of issues relating to atheism, such as demography, community engagement, gender politics, stigmatism and legal action. It covers such themes as: secularization; the social context of atheism in various Western countries; the shifting of atheist identities based on different cultural and national contexts; the role of atheism in multicultural settings; how the framework of "reasonable accommodation" applies to atheism; interactions and relationships between atheism and religion and how atheism is represented for political and legal purposes. Featuring contributions by international scholars at the cutting edge of atheism studies, this volume offers unique insights into the relationship between atheism and identity. It will serve as a useful resource for academics, journalists, policy makers and general readers interested in secular and religious studies, identity construction and identity politics as well as atheism in general.

Constructions of Self and Other in Yoga, Travel, and Tourism

by Sonia Sikka Lori G. Beaman

This volume considers the phenomenon of yoga travel as an instance of a broader genre of spiritual travel involving journeys to places elsewhere, which are imagined to offer the possibility of profound personal transformation. These imaginings are tied up in a continued exoticization of the East, but they are not limited to that. Contributors identify various themes such as authenticity, suffering, space, material markers, and the idea of the spiritual, tracing how these ideas manifest in conceptions and fetishizations of elsewhere. To deepen its analysis of this phenomenon, the book incorporates a wide range of disciplines including architecture, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, women s studies, religious studies, and history. While the book s primary focus is yoga and yoga travel, contributors offer up an array of other case studies. Chapters delve into the complex questions of agency and authenticity that accompany the concept of spiritual travel and ideas of elsewhere. "

Multiculturalism and Religious Identity

by Sonia Sikka Lori G. Beaman

How, and to what extent, can religion be included within commitments to multiculturalism? Multiculturalism and Religious Identity addresses this question by examining the political recognition and management of religious identity in Canada and India. In multicultural policy, practice, and literature, religion has until recently not been included within broader discussions of multiculturalism, perhaps due to worries of potential for conflict with secularism. This collection undertakes a contemporary analysis of how the Canadian and Indian states each approach religious diversity through social and political policies, as well as how religion and secularism meet both philosophically and politically in contested public space. Although Canada and India have differing political and religious histories - leading to different articulations of multiculturalism, religious diversity, and secularism - both countries share a commitment to ensuring fair treatment for the different religious communities they include. Combining broader theoretical and normative reflections with close case studies, Multiculturalism and Religious Identity leads the way to addressing these timely issues in the Canadian and Indian contexts.

Religion in the Public Sphere

by Lori G. Beaman Solange Lefebvre

The place of religion in the public realm is the subject of frequent and lively debate in the media, among academics and policymakers, and within communities. With this edited collection, Solange Lefebvre and Lori G. Beaman bring together a series of case studies of religious groups and practices from all across Canada that re-examine and question the classic distinction between the public and private spheres.Religion in the Public Sphere explores the public image of religious groups, legal issues relating to "reasonable accommodations," and the role of religion in public services and institutions like health care and education. Offering a wide range of contributions from religious studies, political science, theology, and law, Religion in the Public Sphere presents emerging new models to explain contemporary relations between religion, civil society, the private sector, family, and the state.

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