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Holy Ignorance


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About the Author

Olivier Roy is one of the most distinguished analysts of and commentators on political Islam in the Muslim Middle East and Central Asia. He is Professor at the European University Institute in Florence.


"Olivier Roy, the outstanding scholar of contemporary religions, has written a book of startling clarity and wisdom. Illuminating trends, issues and movements that had before appeared bizarre or simply antipathetic, he provides us with tools for the comprehension of matters as diverse as coverage of the war on terror to the common individual confusion over one's own beliefs and scepticisms."--Financial Times

"[A] perceptive and thoughtful book."--Richard Phelps, The Guardian

"The book is an intriguing examination of contemporary religion outside of the usual secularization debate."--Religion Watch

"A highly complex book that critically examines the relationship between religion, culture, and globalization, Holy Ignorance provides theoretical keys to unlocking the riddle of the religious imagination and the 'deculturation' of religious movements in the modern world. Few scholars of religion are as qualified as Olivier Roy to write such erudite work on religious and cultural trends, to contextualize them and to make sense of them."--Fawaz A. Gerges, London School of Economics

"With Holy Ignorance, Olivier Roy moves beyond his established perch as one of contemporary Islam's foremost scholars to train his formidable analytical skills on the question of globalization's broader impact on religion. The result is a tour de force of comparative religious sociology and represents required reading for anyone seeking to understand the relationship between faith, culture, and the market."--Peter Mandaville, George Mason University, author of Global Political Islam

"An erudite account of intricate relationships between religion and other markers of identity, including nationality, socially defined race, language, class, political ideology, generation, gender and sexual orientation."--Times Literary Supplement

"Holy Ignorance is in a way a synthesis of all Roy's previous work on the sociology of religion. It formulates forcefully the thesis that has been taking shape throughout his previous works: in a globalised world, religion thrives to the extent that it has severed its ties with culture. This de-culturation of religions explains their revival, and much of our difficulties in understanding them. It is certainly an important book that is written in an easy, accessible language fit for a wide audience--Roy's erudition is simply flabbergasting, and it has the merit of making his book very concrete, very vivid."--Nicholas Guilhot, New York University

"Roy's central theses about the way religion is going in today's world (a breathtakingly ambitious exercise to be sure) could, and deserve to, reset debates about secularization and secularism, and give birth to creative new departures in theory and research."--David Lehmann, Cambridge University

"An intriguing thesis slithers through this impressively profuse and promiscuous garden of sociohistorical erudition. Religion is not experiencing a comeback, the renowned scholar of political Islam argues, but a significant transformation brought about by the secularization intended to marginalize and diminish it." -- Michael P. Kramer, Common Knowledge

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