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Nature, Technology and the Sacred : Religion and Spirituality in the Modern World - Bronislaw Szerszynski

Nature, Technology and the Sacred

Religion and Spirituality in the Modern World

Hardcover Published: 28th January 2005
ISBN: 9780631236030
Number Of Pages: 240

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In a critical reinterpretation of the idea of the &#8216;disenchantment of nature&#8217;, this provocative and timely book argues that contemporary ideas and practices concerning nature and technology remain closely bound up with religious ways of thinking and acting. Using examples from North America, Europe and elsewhere, many derived from original research, it reinterprets a range of &#8216;secular&#8217; phenomena in terms of their conditioning by a complex series of transformations of the sacred in Western history. The contemporary practices of environmental politics, technological risk behaviour, alternative medicine, vegetarianism and ethical consumption take on new significance as sites of struggle between different sacral orderings.<br><p> <br><p><br><p><i>Nature, Technology and the Sacred</i> introduces a radically new direction for today&#8217;s critical discourse concerning nature and technology, one that reinstates it as a moment within the ongoing religious history of the West.

"With this book Szerszynski makes a highly original contribution to European social theory of the politics of nature and reflexive modernization. Paddling hard against the main currents of thought in this area, he doggedly follows his hunch - that the contemporary politicization of nature and technology is by no means a sign of our final departure from the horizon of religion and the sacred. The scholarly yet engaging way in which he develops his case will mean that this book will become an obligatory reference point for those wishing to locate the contemporary debates about how we should live with technology and nature within the longer scope of Western history." Ulrich Beck, Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich

"Szerszynski?s meticulously researched and well-argued book comprehensively demolishes the notion that monotheism disenchanted the natural world ? This book will stand for many years to come as the authoritative treatment of a topic which in turn stands at the very centre of the entire ecological debate." John Milbank, University of Nottingham

"Szerszynski draws on several centuries of Western religious and philosophical thought to rebut the idea that modernity?s love affair with technology has taken the sacred out of nature. His provocative, wide-ranging study will broaden the horizons of environmental scholarship as well as science and technology studies." Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard University

"In this impressive, wide-ranging new volume, Bronislaw Szerszynski provides a sophisticated historic overview of the development of technology from ancient times to the present. [...] This book is a highly refined and intelligent work and whether its conclusions are met with enthusiasm or sceptical disagreement, it demands and deserves significant attention." Journal of Contemporary Religion

?Nature, Technology and the Sacred takes our ability to study implicit religion to a new and deeper level ? We can only anticipate that much more will come from this formidable scholar.?
Implicit Religion

Preface ix

Acknowledgements xvii

Part I Modernity, Nature and the Sacred 1

1 The Disenchantment of the World 3

2 Nature, Secularization and the Transformation of the Sacred 10

Part II Nature and Technology 29

3 Nature, Science and the Death of Pan 31

4 Modern Technology and the Sacred 51

Part III The Body and its Environment 65

5 The Body, Healing and the Sacred 67

6 The Birth of ‘the Environment’ 84

Part IV Against the Technological Condition 109

7 The Politicization of Nature 111

8 Nature, Virtue and Everyday Life 125

9 Nature and Public Speech 140

Part V The Future of the Sacred 157

10 The Global Sacred 159

11 Nature, Technology and the Sacred: a Postscript 171

Notes 179

References 188

Index 211

ISBN: 9780631236030
ISBN-10: 0631236031
Series: Religion and Spirituality in the Modern World
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 28th January 2005
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.74 x 15.9  x 2.33
Weight (kg): 0.48
Edition Number: 1