BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Primordialists and constructionists: a typology of theories of religion

    Kaufmann, Eric P. (2012) Primordialists and constructionists: a typology of theories of religion. Religion, Brain and Behavior 2 (2), pp. 140-160. ISSN 2153-599X.

    Full text not available from this repository.


    This article adopts categories from nationalism theory to classify theories of religion. Primordialist explanations are grounded in evolutionary psychology and emphasize the innate human demand for religion. Primordialists predict that religion does not decline in the modern era but will endure in perpetuity. Constructionist theories argue that religious demand is a human construct. Modernity initially energizes religion, but subsequently undermines it. Unpacking these ideal types is necessary in order to describe actual theorists of religion. Three distinctions within primordialism and constructionism are relevant: namely, those distinguishing (1) materialist from symbolist forms of constructionism; (2) theories of origins from those pertaining to the reproduction of religion; and (3) within reproduction, between theories of religious persistence and secularization. This typology helps to make sense of theories of religion by classifying them on the basis of their causal mechanisms, chronology, and effects. In so doing, it opens up new sightlines for theory and research.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): theory of religion, theories of religion, theories of nationalism, secularization, primordialism, constructionism, symbolism, reproduction of religion
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Politics
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2013 08:55
    Last Modified: 12 Feb 2014 15:49


    Activity Overview

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item